The high number of cigarettes smoked every day by patients with severe mental disorders does not only harm smokers but also their parents and people around them. The habit of smoking is perceived as harmful and also causes discomfort to those close to patients with schizophrenia, who can smoke 60 cigarettes a day.
Catania, 23 March 2023 – A new qualitative research conducted by the team of CoEHAR (University of Catania) analyzed the perception of smoking habit among the caregivers of patients with schizophrenia. For them, e-cigarette and THR products are considered a useful and effective alternative to find relief and to reduce the nervousness and tension caused by an excessive and chronic habit of smoking conventional cigarettes.
Recent studies, coordinated by prof. Pasquale Caponnetto, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Catania and one of the world leading experts in this research field, showed that among smokers with severe psychopathology, the transition to low-risk products represents a very important factor in reducing the risk of developing smoking-related diseases and mortality rates.
Researchers analyzed the perception of smoking among family members and friends of patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. The aim was to investigate their view of smoking, its impact on physical and mental health and the possible attempts to fight tobacco addiction.
The results of the study showed that the view of the majority of participants on smoking is negative (83%), although not all consider treatments to quit smoking. However, a very high percentage of them (67%) tried to intervene with their own resources and strategies. Some say they have recommended quitting, and others have intervened by interfering with cigarette purchases or setting a maximum number of cigarettes per day with the patient. On the meaning that cigarettes can have for the patient, recurring themes emerge: they are considered as a way to manage nervousness and tension or as a means to counteract the monotony and daily boredom or to repeat habitual gestures and habits.
“Smokers with schizophrenia are subjects who use smoking as a deterrent for some symptoms caused by the disease. For these patients – said prof. Caponnetto – the intervention of specialists in the sector is an undisputed necessity. The association of a cessation program with the use of combustion–free products has proved to be effective and decisive over the years. If we help patients with mental illness to stop smoking, we can also improve the quality of life of the people around them“.