Desktop Helper No.16 - Severe mental illness, tobacco dependence and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Did you know that people with severe mental illness (eg schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and affective disorder with psychosis) are up to 3 times as likely to smoke as the general population, and are more nicotine dependent? They die up to 20 years prematurely, often from tobacco-related causes such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. This means that if we could help people with severe mental illness quit tobacco - and the evidence is clear that they want to - there would be a significant gain globally in terms of mortality, morbidity and healthcare utilisation.

In time for World COPD Day 2023, an International Primary Care Respiratory Group (IPCRG) clinical and public health team from Brazil, Spain, Greece and the UK has co-produced a new desktop helper for primary care teams in general practice and in mental health services to help them help people with SMI who are tobacco dependent.

It should be read in conjunction with two separate desktop helpers:

  1. Desktop Helper No. 4 - Helping patients quit tobacco
  2. Desktop Helper No. 12 - COPD and Mental Health: Holistic and Practical Guidance for Primary Care

First line pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation table

Authors: Sonia Martins, Louise Restrick, Ioanna Tsiligianni, Ana Viejo, Siân Williams

Reviewers: Monte Kofos, USA, Joāo Mauricio, Brazil, Sofia Pappa, UK, Julian Summerfield, UK.

Editor: Judith Cohen

Funding: Supported by an educational grant from Boehringer Ingelheim to support the development, typesetting, printing and associated costs but did not contribute to the content of this document 

Date published: November 2023