Jeff Willett with the Kansas Health Foundation says Kansans with mental illness are twice as likely to smoke as the general population.
Willett recently co-wrote a paper on that topic in the Journal of American Medical Association Psychiatry. The paper found that not only are those mental illness twice as likely to smoke as the general population, but smokers with mental illness represent one-third of the smokers in the U.S. The paper said a partnership between tobacco control programs and mental health providers would both help patients and reduce smoking rates in the country.
Willet said the paper is a "call to action" for mental health and public health communities to address tobacco use among people with serious mental illness.
The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors found that people with serious mental illnesses die an average of 25 years earlier than average, mostly from treatable conditions.