Smoking and mental health

Having conducted some of the largest existing studies to develop and evaluate smoking cessation strategies for people with mental illness (the NIHR-funded SCIMITAR trials), we will make addressing the challenges outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan in relation to reducing smoking in this population one of our ARC’s core sub themes. Based on need and evidence gaps, we will co-produce and test novel complex interventions at various points along the patient pathway (e.g. around and following discharge from a mental health inpatient stay), and explore the roles of recently emerged technologies, especially e-cigarettes, which are highlighted in the NHS long term plan as potentially important harm reduction and smoking cessation aid for people with mental illness. We will pay particular attention to strategies that ensure optimum delivery of and engagement with interventions to maximise effective long-term quitting for people with mental illness.

We will also continue our work in the area of smoke-free policy implementation in community and inpatient settings, investigating impact, challenges and opportunities of policy implementation, and supporting local services in developing and supporting compliance with their policies. We will work closely with services to evaluate the impact of local strategies to support patients in addressing their smoking (e.g. through local smoking cessation clinics) and explore the impact of NHS Long Term Plan initiatives by measuring local quit rates and benefits to services.

Project lead: Dr Elena Ratschen | elena.ratschen@york.ac.uk