Mentally Ill keep Big Tobacco profitable – dying to smoke

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.


Cigarette smoking is addictive.
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Mentally ill and substance abusers are major consumers of tobacco products.

Those with a mental or emotional health problem continue to be major consumers of tobacco products.

A recent government study reported that 40% of those with a mental illness smoke cigarettes.

This is almost double the rate of smoking among the general public.

There was a time when the rate of smoking among those with a DSM diagnosis, that is either substance abuse or mental illness was reported as topping 50%. While this most recent study suggests a slight decrease in smoking by the mentally ill their rate of tobacco consumption continues to be far above that of other Americans. This decline however slight may well reflect a change in attitude among providers of services to the mentally ill.

We have discovered that having a mental illness can reduce your life expectancy by twenty years or more. On average those with a mental illness live shorter lives than those without similar challenges. Despite the existence of treatment that significantly reduces the impact of having a mental illness, we continue to have long-term health problems associated with having developed a mental illness.

In the past, many professionals took the position that with all the challenges the mentally ill had why were we trying them to get them to give up smoking or other things they found pleasurable even if those practices were impairing their health. The attitude of professionals is changing.

Recovery includes not only recover from their mental illness or substance abuse problem but from other unhealthy lifestyle choices. It is not the role of professionals to decide for our clients how they will live. Sometimes they make unhealthy choices. But they deserve the same care and advice about the dangers of unhealthy practices that other people receive. Long-term effects of substance abuse can increase mental health symptoms while impairing health.

Some things, like smoking cigarettes and abusing street drugs, are so high-risk any recovering person should consider giving them up. Recovery is not just about giving things up. It should also include positive steps to improve health and activity. Putting away the cigarettes may be a start on your efforts to create a new healthier and happier you.

Till next time, David Miller, LMFT, LPCC

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

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