A survey of smoking behaviour and attitudes to quitting in psychiatric outpatients
Butt, Bushra M.
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Background: Patients with psychiatric illnesses, especially schizophrenia smoke in excess compared to general population. Smoking is associated with excess morbidity and mortality in general population as well as psychiatric patients. Smoking cessation is associated with improved physical and mental health outcomes. Aim: To ascertain the smoking behaviour and attitude to quitting in a sample of Pakistani psychiatric outpatients with a view to increasing awareness and suggest appropriate interventions. Method: One hundred willing patients from psychiatry outpatient department, who identified themselves as smokers were invited to take part in a semi-structured survey. The questionnaire included inbuilt CAGE screening questionnaire modified for smoking Results: Out of 100 smokers who participated in the survey, 45% screened positive for nicotine dependence and 62% of them smoked at least 20 or more cigarettes a day. 91% of all smokers attributed their smoking to habit. Amongst a range of emotional states, boredom and anxiety or worry were identified as the most common reason for smoking by all smokers, whether nicotine dependent or non-dependent. Conclusion: A high proportion of psychiatric patients who smoke are dependent on nicotine. Habit and anxiety or worry and boredom have been identified as the most common reasons for smoking. Majority of smokers are able to identify potential health and economic benefits of quitting, however find the idea of quitting difficult.