Newsroom > DHHS News Release

December 30, 2011
Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047 or
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Quitting Smoking is a Good New Year’s Resolution
People with Mental Illnesses Smoke at Double the Rate
Lincoln—At the top of the list for New Year’s resolutions, many smokers make quitting their goal for the year.
In Nebraska, 18.4 percent of adults are smokers. But state statistics show that people with mental illnesses smoke at rates twice as high as the general population (41 percent).
“People with mental illnesses and substance use disorders die about 25 years earlier than the general population,” said Scot Adams, director of Behavioral Health at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. “Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.”
“Smoking can cause lung and other cancers, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory diseases, like bronchitis and emphysema, among other conditions,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer, the state’s Chief Medical Officer. “In Nebraska each year, over 2,200 adults die prematurely because of cigarette smoking.”
Nearly half of the cigarettes smoked annually in the U.S. (44 to 46 percent) are consumed by people with co-occurring psychiatric or addictive disorders.  The smoking prevalence rates are even higher (60 to 80 percent) for those who are diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.
Smokers who are trying to quit can get support from the DHHS Nebraska Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
For quitting resources, check out the Tobacco Free Nebraska website at
A smoking cessation guide from the Division of Behavioral Health’s Office of Consumer Affairs can be found at