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Psychiatry Res. 2007 Mar 30;150(2):141-52. Epub 2007 Feb 7.

Characteristics of smokers with a psychotic disorder and implications for smoking interventions.

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  • 1Centre for Mental Health Studies, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.


Despite high rates of smoking among people with psychotic disorders, and the associated health and financial burden, few studies have investigated the characteristics of this group of smokers. This paper reports data from 298 smokers with an ICD-10 psychotic disorder residing in the community (56.7% with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder), including an examination of their demographic and clinical characteristics, smoking behaviours, severity of nicotine dependence, stage of change, and reasons for smoking and for quitting. Standardized self-report instruments were used, in conjunction with structured interviews, as part of the first phase of a randomized controlled trial. On average, participants smoked 30 cigarettes per day, commenced smoking daily at about 18 years of age (5 years before illness onset), and had made 2-3 quit attempts in their lifetime. Higher levels of nicotine dependence and concurrent hazardous use of alcohol or cannabis were associated with a younger age at smoking initiation. The present sample was also more likely to report stress reduction, stimulation and addiction as reasons for smoking, compared to a general sample of smokers. Males, precontemplators and participants with concurrent hazardous substance use cited fewer reasons for quitting smoking. These and other subgroup differences in smoking characteristics are used to illustrate potential implications for the nature and timing of smoking interventions among people with a psychotic disorder.

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