Recently, a research team from the University of California in the United States published a paper in the authoritative medical journal “The Journal of General Internal Medicine” (The Journal of General Internal Medicine), pointing out that e-cigarettes can not only help smokers with depression, autism and other mental diseases to quit cigarettes , There is also a strong effect of harm reduction. Psychologists should promote e-cigarettes to smoker patients to save their lives.
Research paper published in The Journal of 《General Internal Medicine》
Mental illness patients are one of the groups most harmed by cigarettes. In the United States, the smoking rate (cigarette users/total number*100%) of patients with mental illness is about 25%, twice that of ordinary people. Among the 520,000 people who die each year due to tobacco, patients with mental illness account for about 40%. “We must help smokers with mental illness to quit smoking. But they are quite dependent on nicotine, and common smoking cessation methods are almost ineffective. We must find new ways to quit smoking according to their characteristics and needs.” The author wrote in the paper.
The official website of the World Health Organization expresses smoking cessation as “Quitting tobacco”, that is, quitting tobacco, because nicotine in cigarettes does not cause cancer, and what is harmful to health is nearly 7,000 chemical substances and 69 carcinogens produced by tobacco combustion. E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco combustion process and can reduce the harm of cigarettes by 95%. Researchers believe that they have the potential to become a new smoking cessation tool.
Studies have shown that smokers who suffer from mental illness use e-cigarettes to assist smoking cessation, and the success rate is significantly higher than that of other smoking cessation methods. The author of the paper pointed out that this is because it is more difficult for patients with mental illness to overcome nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, and headache than ordinary smokers, and the action and experience of using e-cigarettes are similar to those of cigarettes, which is effective in alleviating nicotine withdrawal symptoms significantly.
E-cigarettes are also more acceptable to smokers with mental illness. The study found that many mentally ill patients would resist the smoking cessation drugs provided by doctors, but among the mentally ill patients who wanted to quit smoking, 50% would actively choose to switch to e-cigarettes.
It is the psychiatrist who should take the initiative to make changes. For a long time, in order to shorten the distance with patients, most psychologists will not take the initiative to ask patients to quit smoking, and some doctors even give cigarettes as prizes to hospitalized patients. E-cigarettes have a powerful harm reduction effect, are easily accepted by smokers suffering from mental illness, and have obvious effects in assisting smoking cessation. Psychologists can recommend e-cigarettes as a “treatment” tool to smokers and patients.
“The smoking rate in the United States is decreasing year by year, but the smoking rate of patients with mental illness is only increasing. We need to pay attention to this. Although e-cigarettes are not a panacea, they are particularly effective in helping smokers with mental illness to quit smoking and reduce harm. If mental medical institutions can pay attention to these scientific evidences and promote e-cigarettes to smoker patients in a timely manner, hundreds of thousands of lives will be saved in the future,” the author wrote in the paper.