Reasons for Tobacco Use and Perceived Tobacco-Related Health Risks in an Inpatient Psychiatric Population

Sarret Seng, Janet K. Otachi, Chizimuzo T.C. Okoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


People with mental illness (MI) have a disproportionate tobacco-related disease burden and mortality. Tobacco-use rates in people with MI are nearly twice that of the general population. Reasons for tobacco-use in this population may be a result of diminished tobacco-related disease risk perceptions. The purpose of this study was to examine the reasons for tobacco-use and perceived tobacco-related health risks among psychiatric inpatients. A correlational design was employed to survey a convenient sample of 137 patients from a psychiatric facility in central Kentucky. Information obtained from participants included demographics, psychiatric diagnoses, tobacco-use and exposure history, medical illness history, reasons for tobacco-use, and tobacco-related illness risk perceptions. The primary reasons participants endorsed for tobacco-use were for stress reduction, followed by addiction, then boredom, psychiatric symptom control, social, and negative mood. In addition, about 72% of participants used tobacco to cope with MI symptoms and 52% to manage the side effects of their medications. Participants were most likely to endorse that tobacco-use caused lung disease (83.2%), heart disease (79.6%), cancer (77.4%), and premature mortality (79.6%) but were less likely to admit that it may cause addiction to other drugs (39.4%) or MI (23.4%). Given the high endorsement of tobacco-use for stress reduction and psychiatric symptom control, it is important for mental health nurses to properly educate consumers on tobacco addiction and evidence of its effects on mental health. Strategies to incorporate our study findings into routine mental health services may address the tobacco-use disparities experienced by people with MI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-167
Number of pages7
JournalIssues in Mental Health Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatric Mental Health


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