The negative effects of smoking are now widely acknowledged, with those who smoke regularly being at higher risk of developing breathing problems, heart disease and even cancer.
Now, a new report into the effects of smoking has uncovered more shocking findings as to why smoking is so detrimental to our health.
Researchers at Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) have identified the consumption of tobacco-based products as being the primary contributing factor for people suffering with mental health issues living an average of 10 to 20 years less than the general population.
The report concluded approximately one third of adults who regularly smoke have been diagnosed with a mental health condition.
Within this group, the amount of tobacco smoked is around double that consumed by people not living with a mental health condition.
This shows how the culture of smoking and the reasoning behind it varies greatly depending on the medical background of the individual.
Furthermore, smoking can often be used as a tactic to relax as well as to supress feelings of anxiety and depression, something which becomes increasingly prevalent amongst those suffering from diagnosed mental health problems.
In reality, this often intensifies the aforementioned symptoms and can quickly become a double edged sword for this finding it difficult to quit.
The findings (officially backed by 27 organisations in the health sector) also highlight a pressing issue within mental health organisations in that many are not providing sufficient support for those wanting to kick the habit.
Moving forward, a series of recommendations have been presented by researchers on how these statistics can be reduced including improved availability of medication and transitioning individuals to smoke-free environments.
In addition, Cancer Research UK has stated around one fifth of cancer cases in Britain are connected to tobacco smoking (either direct or passive) and this includes
a shocking 37,000 instances of lung cancer.
The combination of more frequent tobacco smoking amongst people with mental health conditions and the provision of often inadequate levels of support places those worst affected at an increased risk of life altering and even terminal diseases.
Health organisations need to be mindful of people who are becoming increasingly exposed to smoking and offer prioritised support in an effort to reduce smoking levels as a whole and, in turn, protect the lives of those who are most vulnerable.
Encompass work to improve the lives of people living with mental health illnesses on a daily a basis by providing tailored care services such as supported living, respite care and innovative day care support.
Find out how our team of dedicated Support Workers can help you or a loved one today by clicking here.