CDPH should promote smoking cessation in city mental health centers

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the US.” [CDC, Vital Signs, February2013]

Whether you receive mental health services or not– cigarette smoking can cause “disease, disability, and death.”

The prevalence of smoking is higher in persons with a mental illness. The CDC reports that 36% of adults with a mental illness smoke compared to 21% of adults without a mental illness. The report includes the following stats:

31% of all cigarettes are smoked by adults with mental illness
40% of men and 34% of women with mental illness smoke
48% of people with a mental illness who live below the poverty level smoke, compared with 33% of those with mental illness who live above the poverty level

Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) administrators should tell us how they are promoting smoking cessation to the at risk population that comes directly through their mental health center doors.

Studies have shown that persons with *serious* mental illness diagnoses die on *average* 20-25 years before their peers without a diagnosis of serious mental illness and that they die earlier from preventable or modifiable chronic medical conditions *including smoking related conditions* such as heart and lung disease.

Former commissioner Terry Mason and the Board of Health discussed this several years ago (circa 2007). But CDPH has provided little evidence that it is doing anything systematically (or un) with this knowledge to improve the care of the people it serves –including making sure that mental health center participants have primary care physicians (PCPs) and are following up with there PCPs, targeting smoking cessation, obesity prevention, immunizations, and chronic disease prevention efforts to person served by CDPH mental health centers and addressing other determinants such as housing, transportation, and employment. [This was CMHBC CDBG recommendation #7, a year ago]
jk

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