Nondaily cigarette smoking up among those with mental health and substance use problems; daily smoking continues to decline overall.

For immediate release

Study finds persistent discrepancies in cigarette smoking
between those with mental health and substance use problems and those without

Between 2005 and 2014, nondaily cigarette use increased among persons with common mental health and substance use problems (MHSUP), according to a new study in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry lead by Renee Goodwin, Deputy Director of the Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health.

“Historically, non-daily or infrequent smoking was not considered a great concern, and attention was focused primarily on daily smoking,” says Goodwin. “This is changing as the dangers of smoking even fewer cigarettes are being made clear.” Previous studies of cigarette smoking and MHSUP combined daily and nondaily cigarette smokers. This study set out to investigate the distinct trends in daily and nondaily cigarette smoking and explore potential differences in these trends by mental health status.

Using yearly cross-sectional data publicly available from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Goodwin and colleagues found that the prevalence of nondaily cigarette smoking increased for persons with MHSUP (from 29.54% in 2005 to 33.73% in 2014), whereas it decreased for persons without MHSUP (from 29.13% in 2005 to 27.34% in 2014); both trends were statistically significant.

It may be that the increase of nondaily cigarette smoking among persons with MHSUP can be attributed to new smokers without any history of cigarette smoking. Alternatively, the increase could be from former daily smokers decreasing their frequency to nondaily smoking. Use of annual, cross-sectional data over time did not allow the investigators to discern whether it was one or the other or both (new smokers, reduced from daily smokers). Regardless, even nondaily cigarette smoking can have adverse effects on health and mortality. People who smoke intermittently often transition to daily smoking, and nondaily smokers with MHSUP are less likely to attempt quitting smoking than either daily or nondaily smokers without MHSUP.

Even though fewer people in both groups reported daily smoking in 2014 than they did in 2005, the prevalence of current cigarette smoking is still approximately two times higher among those with MHSUP as compared to those without. Disparities in smoking behaviors persist despite overall reductions in cigarette smoking, and cigarette smoking is still the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

Funding: Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

About the Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health at the City University of New York.
The CUNY Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health (ISPH) was founded on the notion that substantial improvements in population health can be efficiently achieved through better implementation of existing strategies, policies, and interventions across multiple sectors. We study how to translate and scale-up evidence-based interventions and policies within clinical and community settings in order to improve population health and reduce health disparities. CUNY ISPH. Pursuing population health gains through better implementation. Follow us on Twitter: @CUNYISPH.

Citation: Weinberger AH, Streck JM, Pacek LR, Goodwin RD. Nondaily Cigarette Smoking Is Increasing Among People With Common Mental Health and Substance Use Problems in the United States: Data From Representative Samples of US Adults, 2005-2014. J Clin Psychiatry. 2018 Aug 14;79(5). pii: 17m11945. doi: 10.4088/JCP.17m11945. Link to Article>>

For more information, contact:
Renee Goodwin, PhD, MPH
Professor of Epidemiology, CUNY School of Public Health
Deputy Director, CUNY Institute for Implementation Science
[email protected]