Tobacco Use Cessation in Three Patients Suffering from Psychotic Disorders: The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Psychiatr Danub. 2020 Sep;32(Suppl 1):21-23.


Background: Tobacco use is one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality amoung patients suffering from psychotic disorders. The association between severe COVID-19 and tobacco use is still debated. The aim of this paper is to enhance the importance of providing up to date informations about nicotine and tobacco use in connection with the SARS-CoV-2-related conditions.

Methods: We present 3 cases of sudden tobacco use cessation in 3 long-term heavy smokers receiving mental health care for chronic psychotic disorders. Fear of severe form of COVID-19 was their principal motivation. Nicotine replacement therapy and quitline counseling were provided and no major withdrawal symptoms were declared.

Results: As mass media later wrongly presented tobacco use as a protective factor regarding COVID-19, all three patients resumed smoking. Rigorous counseling took advantage of psychotic symptoms to correct false informations and finally promote tobacco use cessation.

Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic might paradoxically represent a great motivational factor to quit smoking, espacially when considering patients suffering from severe mental health disorders. Beyond the terrible suffering it causes, we illustrate with a case serie that this opportunity must be exploited by mental health professionals to improve quality and life expectancy of their patients.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • Coronavirus Infections / psychology*
  • Counseling
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / psychology*
  • Psychotic Disorders / therapy*
  • Tobacco Use Cessation / psychology*
  • Tobacco Use Cessation Devices

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2