An Effective Tobacco Intervention for People with Severe Mental Illness
People with severe mental illness are more likely to be smokers, to smoke more and to have a harder time quitting than those without such a diagnosis. We know that they want to quit and CAN quit. Yet historically it has been challenging to provide this population with effective tobacco treatment.
A recent UK study evaluated tobacco interventions among heavy smokers with diagnoses of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Subjects were randomly assigned to receive either “usual care” – including access to cessation services and a free telephone quitline – or a “bespoke” model of treatment. The bespoke intervention consisted of tobacco treatment from a trained mental health practitioner, home visits,
pharmacological aids for smoking cessation, preloading of NRT products, and other supports and adaptations for people with severe mental illness.
The results were encouraging. Researchers were able to biochemically verify that over twice as many patients who received the bespoke intervention had quit smoking at six months versus those who received usual care. This supports the provision of tobacco treatment designed specifically for people with severe mental illness.
: SG DPhil, E Peckham, D Bailey et al.
Smoking cessation for people with severe mental illness (SCIMITAR+): a pragmatic randomised controlled trial.
Lancet Psychiatry, 6(2019), pp. 379-390