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More People With Mental Illness Smoke Compared To Rest Of Population


In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week, a local health professional says people with mental illness are known to have a significantly higher rate of tobacco use.

Corie Zelazoski of the Oneida County Health Department and Northwoods Tobacco-Free Coalition details the studies...

"...we ae finding through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey which is done evey two years, that 20 percent of individuals in Wisconsin diagnosed with depression currently smoke. That is a universal (finding) that those who suffer from mental illness smoke at a much higher rate. 27 percent is 10 percent higher than the overall smoking rate which is 17 percent...."

Zelazoski says a program is in place to help.

The Wisconsin Nicotine Treatment Integration Project.has proven to be successful....

"they're working with behavioral health providers to integrate tobacco cessation into the care. I know in the past it has been thought that tobacco should be the last thing that is given up, especially if individuals are suffering from a substance abuse disorder. It has been found that if they quit using tobacco, with all the other substances that they quit using, they are less likely to relapse....'

Zelazoski says they encourage anyone who uses tobacco, regardless of mental health status, to call the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUITNOW for assistance.

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