Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Premature death among people with mental illness

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 21 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2969

Rapid Response:

Re: Premature death among people with mental illness

As Thornicroft suggests, investing in smoking cessation interventions may be a key method to help reduce the premature mortality associated with mental illness. The report entitled 'Smoking and mental health', issued by two royal colleges earlier this year(1) highlights that this is a significant public health issue that requires action from clinicians across the healthcare system. It has been suggested that false assumptions from healthcare staff that smoking cessation may exacerbate mental illness or that traditional cessation strategies are unlikely to work in this group, are potential barriers to implementing these services(2). We must, therefore, ensure that all health professionals recognise that smoking cessation is both an important and achievable goal for these patients.

1. Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Psychiatrists. Smoking and mental health. London: RCP 2013.
2. The Lancet. Smoke alarm: mental illness and tobacco. Lancet

Competing interests: No competing interests

22 May 2013
M Ahmed Rashid
Academic Clinical Fellow
University of Cambridge
Department of Public Health & Primary Care, Strangeways Research Laboratory, Worts Causeway, Cambridge, UK.