Smoking linked to psychiatric illness
London: Experts have said that smoking could be a sign of psychiatric illness.
They added that doctors should routinely consider referring people, who smoke to mental health services, in case they need treatment, the Independent reported.
The controversial recommendation from the charity British Lung Foundation has come in response to a major report, Smoking and Mental Health, published this week by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Psychiatrists with the Faculty of Public Health.
The report said that almost one in three cigarettes smoked in Britain now is smoked by someone who is suffering from a mental disorder.
The reason the report gave is that smoking rates have more than halved over the past 50 years, but the decline has not happened equally in all parts of society.
According to the report, of the ten million smokers in Britain, up to 3 million have a mental disorder and up to 2 million have been prescribed a psychoactive drug in the past year and approaching 1 million have longstanding [mental] disease.
While smoking rates have fallen dramatically, from 56 percent in men and 42 percent in women in the early 1960s to 21 percent in both sexes today, they have hardly changed among people with mental disorders and remain at over 40 percent.
Professor Stephen Spiro , deputy chair of the British Lung Foundation, said that persuading people with mental disorders to give up smoking was a major challenge but so was identifying smokers who could need psychiatric treatment.
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