Myth #1: Persons with mental illness and substance use disorders don’t want to quit.
Fact: The majority of persons with mental illness and substance use disorders want to quit smoking and want information on cessation services and resources.1,2,3
Research argues that the majority of persons with mental illness and substance use disorders want to quit smoking and want information on cessation services and resources.
Fact: Persons with mental illness and substance use disorders can successfully quit using tobacco.4
In a review of 24 studies, the recorded quit rates of patients with mental illness or addictive disorders were similar to those of the general population.
Fact: Smoking cessation can improve psychiatric symptoms.5,6
This myth has historical ties to the tobacco industry which has directly funded, or monitored, research supporting the idea that individuals with schizophrenia were less susceptible to the harms of tobacco and that they needed tobacco as self-medication. Unfortunately the bias behind the research was not commonly known, and therefore was believed for years. Fortunately new research is emerging to debunk this myth.
Fact: Smoking cessation can enhance long-term recovery for persons with substance use disorders.2,7
A systematic review of 17 studies found that concurrent tobacco cessation treatment with individuals in addictions treatment was associated with 25% increased abstinence from alcohol and illicit drugs six months or longer after treatment.
1 Prochaska, J. J., Rossi, J. S., Redding, C. A., Rosen, A. B., Tsoh, J. Y., Humfleet, G. L., . . . Hall, S. M. (2004). Depressed smokers and stage of change: Implications for treatment interventions. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 76(2), 143-151. doi:DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2004.04.017
2 Prochaska, J. J.,Reyes, R.S., Schroeder, S.A., Daniels, A. S., Doederlein, A., & Bergeson, B. (2011). An online survey of tobacco use, intentions to quit, and cessation strateies among people living with bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disorders, 13(5-6), 466-473. doi:10.1111/j.1399-5618.2011.00944.x
3 Joseph, A. M., Willenbring, M. L., & Nugent, S. M. (2004). A randomized trial of concurrent versus delayed smoking intervention for patients in alcohol dependence treatment. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 65(6), 681-691
4 el-Guebaly, N., Cathcart, J., Currie, S., Brown, D., & Gloster, S. (2002). Smoking cessation approaches for persons with mental illness or addictive disorders. Psychiatric Services, 53(9), 1166-1170. doi:10.1176/appi.ps.53.9.1166
5 Prochaska, J. J., Hall, S. M., Tsoh, J. Y., Eisendrath, S., Rossi, J. S., Redding, C. A., . . . Gorecki, J. A. (2008). Treating tobacco dependence in clinically depressed smokers: Effect of smoking cessation on mental health functioning. American Journal of Public Health, 98(3), 446-448. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2006.101147
6 Evins, A., Cather, C., Deckersbach, T., Freudenreich, O., Culhane, M., Olm-Shipman, C., . . . Rigotti, N. (2005). A double-blind placebo-controlled trial of bupropion sustained-release for smoking cessation in schizophrenia. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 25(3), 218-225. doi:10.1097/01.jcp.0000162802.54076.18
7 Prochaska, J. J., Delucchi, K., & Hall, S. M. (2004). A meta-analysis of smoking cessation interventions with individuals in substance abuse treatment or recovery. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72(6), 1144-1156. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.72.6.1144