ADULTS living in York Valley with long-term mental health issues are more than twice as likely to smoke as the general population, according to new figures.
Action on Smoking and Health said the higher prevalence of smoking among people with mental health conditions leads to inequalities in life expectancy and general health.
Figures from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities show that 21.8% of adults with a long-term mental health condition in the NHS Vale of York CCG region said they had smoked in 2020-21 , compared to 19.6% the previous year.
A total of 10.2% of adults in the Valley of York reported smoking.
This meant that an adult with a mental health condition was 115% more likely to smoke than the general population.
Nationally, 14.4% of adults reported smoking regularly, but this figure jumps to 26.3% among people with mental illness.
Dr David Crepaz Keay, head of applied learning at the Mental Health Foundation, said quitting smoking is a major goal for people using mental health services, but support to quit is not enough. accessible.
Hazel Cheeseman, ASH’s deputy chief executive, said the “tragedy” was preventable and called on the government to do more to reduce smoking rates among people with mental health conditions.
“With more investment in services and broader policies to reduce smoking, we can lower rates for people with mental health issues and everyone else,” Ms Cheeseman added.
“The government is committed to making smoking obsolete in 2019 – it’s high time we found out how they are going to do this and tackle the terrible inequalities caused by smoking for people with mental health conditions.”
Quitting smoking is linked to better mental health, Ms Cheeseman explained, saying that certain conditions such as depression and schizophrenia have been linked to starting to smoke.
The figures come after the government unveiled its target to be smoke-free by 2030, meaning less than 5% of adults in England will smoke regularly.
Smoking prevalence among people aged over 16 in England has continued to fall over the past decade, from 19.6% in 2010 to 14.4% in 2020, according to a separate Office for National Statistics.
The Department of Health and Social Care has said it is ‘addressing the adverse health consequences of smoking across the country, particularly where rates remain high’, as it aims to make England free smoke by 2030.
A spokesperson said the new tobacco control plan – which is informed by an independent review on addressing disparities and will outline how DHSC will achieve the smoke-free goal – will be released later this year.
The NHS long-term plan commits to providing NHS-funded tobacco treatment services to all people with access to long-term mental health services by 2024.