WASHINGTON, D.C. – Adults with some form of mental illness have a smoking rate 70 percent higher than adults with no mental illness, according to a Vital Signs report. Combined data from SAMHSA’s 2009–2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) were used to calculate national and state estimates of cigarette smoking among adults aged 18 years and older who reported having any mental illness.
- 36 percent of adults with a mental illness are cigarette smokers, compared with only 21 percent of adults who do not have a mental illness.
- Nearly 1 in 5 adults in the United States – about 45.7 million Americans—have some type of mental illness.
- Among adults with mental illness, smoking prevalence is especially high among younger adults, American Indians and Alaska Natives, those living below the poverty line, and those with lower levels of education. Differences also exist across states, with prevalence ranging from 18.2 percent in Utah to 48.7 percent in West Virginia.
Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the US. Despite overall declines in smoking, more people with mental illness smoke than people without mental illness. Because many people with mental illness smoke, many of them will get sick and die early from smoking.