Weekend read- Up in smoke

Smoking among mentally ill patients in Oman is found to be 13.6 per cent. This is almost double the average rate among the public

Patients with psychiatric disorders tend to smoke tobacco at a higher rate than the general population in the Sultanate.
This is revealed in a report based on a study conducted on psychiatric outpatients attending Sultan Qaboos University Hospital by experts from different hospitals in the Sultanate and Saudi Arabia.
According to the study, the overall rate of tobacco smoking among patients with a mental health disorder in Oman is found to be 13.6 per cent.
This is almost double the average rate among the general public in the Sultanate.
“In Oman, the rate of smoking among the general population is estimated to be 7 per cent, with the vast majority of smokers being male. Although it is considered as the lowest rate in the Gulf countries, it may reach up to 33 per cent by 2025”, says the report in the latest issue of Oman Medical Journal.
However, smoking is less prevalent among the Omani community than other culturally and geographically closer communities.
The prevalence of smoking in Saudi Arabia is currently 17.5 per cent with 25 per cent of the elderly. Similarly, in Kuwait it was found to be 17 per cent. Similarly, the rate of smoking among Omani psychiatric outpatients in our study was lower than the regional and international rates”, say the authors of the report.
The patients’ demographic information, history of smoking, previous hospitalisations, and the number of specific psychotropics used during treatment were documented.
The degree of dependence on tobacco smoking was measured using the Fagerstrom test for nicotine dependence.
Patients with schizophrenia smoke tobacco at a higher frequency than those with any other mental health disorder.  The lifetime prevalence of smoking among individuals with mental health disorders is around 44 per cent.
Patients with mental health disorders who smoke tobacco are more likely to suffer adverse health consequences than smokers without a mental health disorder.
Thus, it is not surprising that the resultant mortality and morbidity rates among patients with mental health disorders who smoke tobacco are higher than the rest of the population.
According to the study on patients selected randomly from five different hospitals in Saudi Arabia found that 57 per cent of male psychiatric outpatients smoked tobacco.
“The majority of the patients in that study was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, which is consistent with our study”, the report says.
Moreover, other studies from the US, Europe, China, and India have yielded higher tobacco smoking rates among patients with mental health disorders.
The study was conducted jointly by Khalid al Risi, Mandhar al Maqbali, Waddah Asiri and Hamed al Sinawi from Psychiatry Residency Training Program, Oman Medical Specialty Board, Muscat, Department of Psychiatry, Sohar Hospital, Sohar, Department of Psychiatry, King Khalid University Hospital, Riyadh and Department of Behavioural Medicine, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, respectively.
Tobacco consumption — either by smoking or chewing — is an ongoing public problem that can cause several health-related issues.The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 33 per cent of the adult population worldwide smoke tobacco.
Tobacco smoking is a well-established risk factor for cancer, coronary vascular disease, and stroke. It is considered the single most avoidable cause of morbidity and mortality in the world.

Around seven million people die each year due to tobacco smoking according to the latest WHO survey, and this number may increase to 10 million by 2020.