Monitoring changes in smoking and quitting behaviours among Australians with and without mental illness over 15 years

Aust N Z J Public Health. 2021 Nov 25. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.13185. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: This study examines smoking prevalence and quitting behaviours among Australians with and without mental illness.

METHODS: Analysis of data from Australia’s triennial National Drug Strategy Household Surveys 2004-2019. The prevalence of regular smokers, never smokers, the quit proportion, cigarette consumption, and use of cessation aids were examined for those with and without mental illness.

RESULTS: Among Australians with mental illness, there was a significant decrease in regular smokers and significant increases in never smokers and in the proportion of ever smokers who had quit between 2004 and 2019. Smokers with mental illness were generally as likely to attempt to quit and more likely to use cessation support; however, they were also more likely to report unsuccessful quit attempts. Smokers with mental illness who had quit reported lower levels of psychological distress than those still smoking.

CONCLUSION: Since 2004, there have been some encouraging trends in reducing tobacco use among people with mental illness; however, smoking rates remain substantially higher than among those without mental illness. Implications for public health: Findings highlight the importance of routinely identifying smokers with mental illness and improving access and adherence to best practice smoking cessation treatment.

PMID:34821438 | DOI:10.1111/1753-6405.13185