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Expert says tobacco use among mentally ill too high

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas health advocates are seeking to reduce smoking rates among the mentally ill.

The Kansas Health Foundation's vice president for programs, Jeff Willett, says Kansans with mental illness are twice as likely to smoke as the general population. The Lawrence Journal-World (http://bit.ly/HRJo8b ) reports that Willett co-wrote a recent paper on the topic in the Journal of American Medical Association Psychiatry.

Willet says the paper is a "call to action" for the mental health and public health communities to address the issue of tobacco use among people with serious mental illness.

The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors has found that people with serious mental illnesses die an average of 25 years earlier than everyone else, largely from treatable conditions such as nicotine addiction and obesity.