Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The mentally ill can quit, too

Melinda Beck, WSJ, Apr 26, 2011, says a pilot program in NY is helping mentally ill people quit smoking.

Yes, many are together enough to know it isn’t helping them.

Nearly half of all cigarettes are smoked by people with serious mental problems, according to the J of the Am Med Assn (JAMA) in 2000. People with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other illnesses are twice as likely to smoke as others.

The New York program uses nicotine replacement and counseling.

Smoking can be very expensive if you are on disability and may not alleviate stress as people think it does.

Some symptoms of mental illness may be worsened by nicotine withdrawal—this should be done under supervision.

Still it might not be too crazy to try to stop.

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