Group treatment for smoking cessation among persons with schizophrenia

Psychiatr Serv. 1998 Jul;49(7):925-8. doi: 10.1176/ps.49.7.925.


People with schizophrenia smoke more than the general population and more than other psychiatric diagnostic groups. The rate of smoking in the general population is 30 percent, and reported rates for people with schizophrenia range between 62 percent and 81 percent. The author briefly reviews evidence that nicotine's augmentation of dopamine release may account for the high prevalence of smoking in this group. The affective, cognitive, and social difficulties and the symptoms experienced by many patients with schizophrenia indicate that existing smoking cessation programs may not be appropriate for them. The author describes three programs developed for use with this population and reviews evidence of their effectiveness. Preliminary evidence suggests that transdermal nicotine patches are effective and that patients do not misuse them. The author concludes that stopping smoking is possible for individuals with schizophrenia, especially if the treatment is specifically designed for them.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy / methods
  • Cholinergic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Nicotine / therapeutic use
  • Ontario
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Program Evaluation
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Psychotherapy, Group / standards
  • Schizophrenia / complications*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology
  • Tobacco Use Disorder* / complications
  • Tobacco Use Disorder* / therapy
  • United States


  • Cholinergic Agents
  • Nicotine