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Smokers with mental health issues ‘need more support in quitting’

Smoking increases the risk of major depression

Smokers who have mental health conditions need more support to give up the habit, according to campaigners.

NHS figures show people in the UK with mental health conditions are two to three times more likely to smoke than the general population. 

Smoking is associated with an increased risk of major depression and other mental health conditions. 

The University of York has published five films featuring former smokers with mental health conditions who share their journeys on how they quit the habit.

Some of them had taken part in a study led by the university where they were offered a quit smoking support package specifically designed for people who use mental health services. 

The study, called the SCIMITAR trial, has shown that people can double their chances of successfully quitting with the right level of support in place.

Professor Simon Gilbody, director of the mental health and addictions research group at the University of York and Hull York Medical School, said there is now high quality evidence to show that it is possible for people who use mental health services to quit smoking. 

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, added: “Mental health staff have a pivotal role to play and they should take every opportunity to help their patients quit. The ex-smokers in the films show that people with mental health conditions can quit smoking with the right support, but also that all too often that support is lacking.”