Centre for Mental Health has joined with ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), other charities and medical leaders today to call for better help for people with mental health problems who wish to quit smoking.

People with a long-term mental health condition are three times more likely to smoke than average in England. And people with schizophrenia have a life expectancy 15-20 years shorter than average, partly because of smoking-related illnesses.

Smokers with a mental health condition are just as likely to want to quit as those without. Centre for Mental Health believes that it is vital that people with mental health conditions are offered the right support, based on guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Centre for Mental Health Chief Executive, Sean Duggan, said: “There is good evidence that smoking cessation support can be just as effective for people with a mental illness as for those without. For too long, poor physical health among people with a mental illness has been ignored and neglected. It is time we put evidence into practice and offered people the help they want and need to quit.”

The ASH health inequalities resource pack, including a briefing on mental health and smoking, is available at http://www.ash.org.uk/current-policy-issues/health-inequalities/health-inequalities-resource-pack.