Objective: The aims of this study were to (a) describe patterns of tobacco smoking among Australians living with a psychotic illness and (b) explore the association between smoking and measures of psychopathology, psychiatric history, psychosocial functioning, physical health, substance use and demographic characteristics.
Methods: Data were from 1812 participants in the 2010 Australian Survey of High Impact Psychosis. Participants were aged 18-64 years and resided in seven mental health catchment sites across five states of Australia. Bivariate statistics were used to compare smokers with non-smokers on the measures of interest, and to compare ICD-10 diagnostic categories on measures of smoking prevalence, nicotine addiction and quitting history. Multivariate logistic regression was used to test whether (a) demographics and psychiatric history were associated with having ever smoked and (b) whether symptoms and psychosocial functioning were independently associated with current smoking, after controlling for demographics, psychiatric history and substance use.
Results: The prevalence of current tobacco smoking was 66.6% (72% of men and 59% of women); lifetime prevalence was 81%. In univariate analyses, individuals with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were most likely to be smoking tobacco (70%) and were more nicotine dependent. Smokers reported worse perceived physical health, lower body mass index and waist circumference, and more lifetime medical conditions. A younger age of illness onset, male gender and low education were associated with having ever smoked. Associations with current smoking included low education, male gender, no formal employment, worse negative symptoms, higher daily caffeine consumption, and alcohol dependence and substance abuse/dependence.
Conclusions: The prevalence of tobacco smoking is high amongst people with a psychotic disorder, and is associated with adverse mental health symptoms as well as high rates of other substance use, poorer subjective physical health, and a higher risk of the many known health consequences of smoking.