You start smoking when you develop schizophrenia at a young age. You will require higher doses of antipsychotic medication. Your life expectancy will be 20 percent shorter than for people who do not have this illness.
Two women who are sisters start smoking when they're 15. Smoking increases the risk of breast cancer. One sister develops breast cancer and emphysema and needs to sleep and travel with an oxygen tank. The other sister requires an oxygen tank as well.
One guy smoked up until he was 67. A blood clot formed dangerously close to his heart. He needed a seven-hour operation to remove the blood clot. The surgeon had to freeze him because of the risk that he would take a stroke while under the knife.
The guy needed a second operation a week later. He couldn't talk so pointed to letters in the alphabet on a wooden board from his perch in the hospital bed. He used a tracheotomy tube to breathe. The guy would go on to spend over 30 days in rehab in a nursing home for speech and physical therapy so he could get back up to speed in the real world.
If this is the outcome for three smokers who do not have schizophrenia: I hope this shocks everyone with schizophrenia into considering quitting smoking and hopefully not starting this habit if you haven't already.
It's thought people with schizophrenia smoke at a greater rate than the general population because the nicotine is used to self-medicate and improve difficulties with attention, cognition and information processing as well as the extrapyramidal effects of antipsychotic drugs.
The true shocker:
Statistics taken from schizophrenia.com:
"While the prevalence of smoking in the total U.S. population is about 25 to 30 percent, the prevalence among people with schizophrenia is approximately three times as high or almost 90 percent, and approximately 60 percent to 70 percent for people who have bipolar disorder."
Smoking is a direct cause of cancer and has been hypothesized as one of the key reasons life expectancy for people with schizophrenia is about 20 percent shorter than for people who do not have schizophrenia.
The British Journal of Medicine has reported that approximately 50 percent of average smokers die prematurely (and likely a much higher percentage of smokers who have schizophrenia because of higher smoking rates).
Smoking has also been found to interfere with the response to antipsychotic drugs.