How can we promote smoking cessation in people with schizophrenia in practice? A clinical overview

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2015 Aug;132(2):122-30. doi: 10.1111/acps.12412. Epub 2015 Mar 6.


Objective: High rates of smoking and nicotine dependence are associated with increased physical comorbidity and premature death in people with schizophrenia. We conducted a clinical overview to establish how smoking cessation should be promoted in practice.

Method: Systematic clinical review of major electronic databases from inception till November 2014.

Results: A growing body of evidence supports pharmacological interventions to assist smoking cessation. The most promising evidence is for bupropion with several meta-analyses demonstrating its effectiveness. Currently, there is limited evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and varenicline, although this is likely to be due to the paucity of research. There are no consistent data to suggest that pharmacological interventions increase adverse events. Behavioural and psychosocial interventions also demonstrate promise, particularly when combined with pharmacotherapy. Careful monitoring of antipsychotic levels (in particular clozapine) is essential, and the promotion of physical activity may be useful to negate potential weight gain and diabetes risk following smoking cessation.

Conclusion: Evidence from systematic reviews and meta-analyses suggests that smoking cessation interventions are effective in people with schizophrenia, although more long-term research is required. Promoting smoking cessation should be given utmost priority in clinical practice, and we offer practical strategies to facilitate this.

Keywords: psychosis; schizophrenia; serious mental illness; smoking; smoking cessation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise / psychology
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Psychiatric Rehabilitation / methods
  • Schizophrenia / therapy*
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Weight Gain