Nearly half of the cigarettes consumed in the United States are smoked by people thought to have a mental illness.
At the same time, people who have a mental illness die an average of 25 years earlier than those who don’t have a mental illness.
“There’s a really big disparity in who’s smoking and in who’s dying,” said Kim Richter, who runs the tobacco cessation program at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas.
“And we as a society haven’t really done anything about this,” she said. “We really need to turn this around.”
This story was originally published by Heartland Health Monitor, a reporting collaboration focused on health issues and their impact in Missouri and Kansas.