Views and Attitudes of Patients in Mental Facilities Regarding Smoking

  •  Michael Kourakos    
  •  Athina Kalokairinou    
  •  Sophia Zyga    
  •  Evmorphia Koukia    


INTRODUCTION: Smoking rates amongst people with a mental health disorder are significantly higher than in the general population and there is growing evidence to show a strong association between smoking and mental health disorders. The aim of the present study was to investigate views and attitudes of mental patients regarding smoking.

MATERIAL & METHODS: The sample is composed of 356 patients treated in the Attica Psychiatric Hospital (a.k.a. “Dafni”) as well as in other Units affiliated with the Hospital. The ‘Smoking in psychiatric hospitals-a survey of patients’ views’ questionnaire was used in the form of semi-structured interviews. The PASW 18 (SPSS Inc.) package was used for the statistical analysis and statistical significance was set to p= 0.05.

RESULTS: Overall, 40% of the participants were in-patients, the rest being treated in other settings, the average length of hospital stay was 4.4 years, and the most common diagnosis (61.5.%) was schizophrenia (F20, according to ICD-10), while almost all of the participants (97.5%) were smokers. Most patients (58.8%) said they had had a hard time trying to quit smoking although they had sufficient information and encouragement (≈90%); they also reported that watching the staff smoking did not affect them inasmuch as watching other patients smoking (41 % vs 54.8%). 75.5% of the patients felt that they had no particular difficulty to quit smoking. Men smoked significantly more cigarettes per day compared to females (36.70 vs 30.82, p=0.002). There were no significant differences among males and females regarding previous attempts to quit smoking. Information gathered from such studies should be taken into account when designing systematic smoking management plans in mental institutions.

CONCLUSION: Although almost all mental patients smoke, they seem to be receptive to quitting smoking, since two thirds of them have already tried to quit, but one-third of the patients find smoking a little or not at all dangerous.

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