Taking action on smoking and health
Embargo 00:01 Saturday 10th October 2015
On World Mental Health Day (10 October) health campaign ASH Scotland has claimed that people suffering from poor mental health have been left behind as the rest of society enjoys better health and longer lives.
An evidence review produced by the charity highlights that those suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder die up to 20 years earlier, and those with recurrent depression up to 11 years earlier, often after years of illness.
This reduced life expectancy does not stem from the mental health issues but from associated physical behaviours. In particular people with mental health issues have much higher smoking rates, so that this group consumes a third of all tobacco in the UK.
The review highlights consistent evidence that stopping smoking is associated with improvements in depression, anxiety, stress and psychological quality of life, so that smoking actually harms mental health rather than acting as a coping mechanism or support.
The charity is calling for Scotland’s next mental health strategy, currently being drafted by the Scottish Government, to make a clear statement that smoking is an integral part of the problems experienced by people with mental health issues, and to commit to supporting smokers across this group to quit.
ASH Scotland Chief Executive, Sheila Duffy, said:
“Our evidence review shows that people with mental health issues are just as likely as anyone to want to stop smoking and that doing so actually improves mental as well as physical health. While people with mental health issues may experience particular challenges in quitting tobacco use they have even more to gain from achieving this.
“Now that we have clear evidence that stopping smoking benefits mental as well as physical health, there is no excuse for leaving this vulnerable group with smoking rates not seen in the rest of the population since the 1970s.
“For the new strategy to deliver better life outcomes for people with mental health issues it must commit to tackling this issue head on. If any other group in society was dying five, ten or twenty years early would it be tolerated?”
For further information please contact ASH Scotland on 0131 225 4725 or firstname.lastname@example.org Out of hours mobile 07776 142 299
Action on Smoking & Health (Scotland) (ASH Scotland) is a registered Scottish charity (SC 010412) and a company limited by guarantee(Scottish company no 141711). The registered office is 8 Frederick Street, Edinburgh EH2 2HB.
ASH Scotland acknowledges with thanks the support of the British Heart Foundation and the Scottish Government in developing our website.