A group of health bodies and charities has called for more to be done to help smokers with mental health conditions quit, including accessing e-cigarettes and other treatments.
In its Statement on Electronic Cigarettes the Mental Health & Smoking Partnership said that smoking remains “part of the culture in too many mental health settings”, and that vaping and nicotine replacement therapies should be made an easier choice than smoking.
Professor Ann McNeill, co-chair of the partnership, said that people with a mental health condition are more than twice as likely to smoke as the general population.
“This is a great inequality leading to early death and years of chronic illness for many,” she said. “E-cigarettes provide a new opportunity for people to move away from smoking and avoid the terrible burden of death and disease it causes.”
Smoking rates in people with mental health conditions have barely changed in the last 20 years, despite a steady decline in the rest of the population, said the statement.
It adds that on average people with mental health conditions die significantly earlier than the general population, with smoking likely contributing to this difference.