Paul Jenkins, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness, has called on the NHS to do more to help people with mental illness stop smoking, as a new report reveals that health professionals are failing to support smokers with mental illness to quit.
The report from the Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Psychiatrists says that the lack of support for people with mental illness to stop smoking is a major cause of premature deaths. It calls on health professionals to do much more to encourage and help smokers with mental illness to give up.
Mr Jenkins said: “It is scandalous that so many people with mental illness are given no support to stop smoking. In fact, some of our members have been told not to bother trying because they’ll find it too stressful.
“Smokers with severe mental illness are more nicotine-dependent, more likely to become medically ill, and less likely to receive help in quitting. 42% of all cigarettes smoked in England are smoked by people with a mental illness.
“This has to stop. People with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder die on average 15-20 years younger than the general population, and smoking plays a massive part in that.
“Last year The Schizophrenia Commission called on the NHS to make sure that people with mental illness are given support to stop smoking as standard. We urge the NHS to act now so that we can start to reduce the number of people with mental illness who are dying unnecessarily.”
For more information, please contact Brian Semple, Media Officer for Rethink Mental Illness on 020 7840 3043 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
The Schizophrenia Commission
The Schizophrenia Commission was set up in November 2011 to examine the state of care for people with schizophrenia and psychosis in England.
Rethink Mental Illness
Rethink Mental Illness is a charity that believes a better life is possible for millions of people affected by mental illness.
For 40 years we have brought people together to support each other. We run services and support groups that change people’s lives and challenge attitudes about mental illness.
We directly support almost 60,000 people every year across England to get through crises, to live independently and to realise they are not alone.
We give information and advice to 500,000 more and we change policy for millions.
For more information go to www.rethink.org
Media Relations Officer
020 7840 3043
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