Smoking cessation for people with severe mental illness

shutterstock_33368995 smoking cessation

I’ve blogged before about mental health and smoking cessation, so I was interested to read about this new review on the subject published by a researcher in Spain, which aims to assess the best way for adults with major depression, schizophrenia and psychosis to give up smoking.

The review searched a very wide range of databases to retrieve systematic reviews, comprehensive reports, clinical trials, observational studies and recommendations, which had evaluated smoking cessation programs in patients with severe mental illness.  Few studies were found and those that were included showed great heterogeneity in the recommendations given.

Nevertheless, the review did make some recommendations for helping people with mental health problems quit smoking:

  • Increase and prolong the treatment period
  • Implement joint psychoeducation techniques and cognitive-behavioral techniques
  • Implement the use of any drug treatment that helps to control and / or reduce the occurrence of relapses in tobacco consumption or baseline psychiatric symptoms
The review concluded:

Although the strength of the evidence is relatively weak, with wide confidence intervals, especially for the long-term benefits, the studies support the efficacy of bupropion in smoking cessation and the reduction of the smoking habit in patients with such incapacitating mental diseases such as schizophrenia. For smoking cessation with other therapeutic options such as nicotine replacement therapy and psychosocial interventions, sufficient and robust tests have not been found in this review to support their use in the clinical practice.

Molina-Linde JM. Effectiveness of smoking cessation programs for seriously mentally ill (PDF). [Article in English, Spanish] Actas Esp Psiquiatr. 2011 Mar-Apr;39(2):106-14. Epub 2011 Mar 1.

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Andre Tomlin

André Tomlin is an Information Scientist with 20 years experience working in evidence-based healthcare. He's worked in the NHS, for Oxford University and since 2002 as Managing Director of Minervation Ltd, a consultancy company who do clever digital stuff for charities, universities and the public sector. Most recently André has been the driving force behind the Mental Elf and the National Elf Service; an innovative digital platform that helps professionals keep up to date with simple, clear and engaging summaries of evidence-based research. André is a Trustee at the Centre for Mental Health and an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London Division of Psychiatry. He lives in Bristol, surrounded by dogs, elflings and lots of woodland!

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