Exploring the potential for family carers to support people with mental illness to stop smoking

Sharon Lawn, Jenny Bowman, Paula Wye, John Wiggers

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Cigarette smoking poses significant health burdens for people with mental illness. They die sooner than they should, and smoking is a major contributor to their high rates of morbid chronic physical health conditions and early mortality, compared to the general population. Family carers provide important support to people with mental illness. However, family carers' perspectives of smoking by their family members with mental illness are largely absent from the research literature and from practice, despite smoking rates remaining high and quit rates remaining low for this population. We know little about how family carers are or could be involved in supporting people with mental illness who smoke to stop smoking. This paper aims to provide a discussion of the opportunities for family carers to support their family member's smoking cessation and a discussion of our preliminary research on this topic. From the available literature, it appears that family carers are well placed to support smoking cessation for this population; however, they struggled physically, philosophically, and emotionally with perceived responsibilities involving their family member's smoking and the caring role. They felt isolated and asserted that there was limited support from service providers to assist them. We concluded that family carers are important agents within the person's immediate environment who could help them to improve their smoking cessation success. This suggests also that mental health services and other health service providers could benefit from including family carers in their efforts to support smoking cessation for people with mental illness who smoke.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)52-59
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Dual Diagnosis
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017


    • Family carers
    • mental illness
    • smoking
    • smoking cessation


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