Smoking and mental health: a framework for action in Wales

Smoking contributes to poor mental health and increases inequalities in physical health and premature mortality. Smoking is a leading contributor to the 7–23-year lower life expectancy among people with severe mental illness (SMI) compared to the general population.

In Wales, an estimated 14.1% of people are smokers. Smoking is much more common (33% prevalence) among people with mental health conditions (for example depression, anxiety) and is even higher among those with SMI (40.5% prevalence). People with mental health conditions are also more likely to be heavy smokers, however they also report a higher interest in quitting than the general population.

The Public Mental Health Implementation Centre (PMHIC) was commissioned by RCPsych Wales through its partnership with the National Collaborative Commissioning Unit (NCCU) and the Dyfodol Programme to develop a framework to help reduce smoking rates among people with mental health conditions in Wales. The framework identified three priority areas for action: 

  1. Address misperceptions about smoking in mental health settings.
  2. Improve implementation of quitting strategies in mental health settings.
  3. Address the lack of data on smoking and quitting among people with SMI.
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