Helping mental health services to quit smoking

Much is talked about parity of esteem between mental and physical health.  The NIHR CLAHRC Yorkshire and Humber Mental Health and Comorbidity’s theme aims to ensure that both physical and mental health, are on ‘the same page’.  One of the greatest disparities is the fact that people with severe mental ill health (SMI) have some of the worst indices of physical health. 

Life expectancy is reduced by 25 years and people often suffer long term health problems such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory illness and diabetes.  The single most important contribution to this health inequality is smoking.  Smoking rates are three times higher than in the general population.  The NHS has made significant advances in reducing population levels of smoking, but this benefit has not been seen for people with SMI. 

Within NIHR CLAHRC YH we have tackled smoking in a number of ways by enabling trusts to go smoke free and by developing ‘bespoke’ packages of care for people with SMI who smoke but are interested in quitting.  The results of the first UK pilot trial were promising and the team have now undertaken the largest ever trial in this area.  The results of the Smoking cessation for people with severe mental illness: a pilot study and definitive randomised evaluation of a bespoke service (SCIMITAR) trial are expected in 2018. 

Contact Professor Simon Gilbody simon.gilbody@york.ac.uk