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Helping more Australians to stop smoking

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Minister for Mental Health and Ageing

Minister for Social Inclusion

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Mental Health Reform


21 August 2012


SANE and the Australian Government have teamed up to help the one in three Australians living with a mental illness who smoke, quit the habit.

The Federal Government in conjunction with SANE Australia, a leading mental health non-government organisation, has produced materials to help people experiencing mental illness quit smoking.

Minister for Mental Health Mark Butler said it can be hard for people living with mental illness to quit smoking but with the right support they can succeed.

“The materials will provide information to help people get started on the path to quitting smoking, as well as detail available support services, and how families and carers can help too.”

“The resource is part of the Australian Government’s More Targeted Approach campaign which focuses on high need and hard-to-reach groups as part of the national QuitNow campaign,” Mr Butler said.

As many as 32 per cent of Australians with a mental illness smoke — increasing to between 60 and 73 per cent for those living with severe mental health conditions such as schizophrenia.

Chief Executive Officer of SANE Australia, Jack Heath said disease caused by smoking is a major cause of death for Australians with a mental illness.

“We now know that far from relieving stress, smoking actually causes it and can also interfere with the dosage of some medications, including those prescribed for schizophrenia and depression.”

“As long as people have the right support, quitting is an achievable goal,” Mr Heath said.

The More Targeted Approach campaign aims to raise awareness among healthcare professionals and their professional associations as well as mental health organisations.

The new Guide to a smoke-free life brochure will be distributed to stakeholders, State and Territory health departments, and Centrelink shopfronts.

The Supporting someone with a mental illness to quit smoking and Smoking and mental illness: A guide for health professionals fact sheets can be downloaded at

For more information or to request free copies of any of the resources, visit or email

Media Contacts: Minister Butler: Brooke Wylie 0408 833 967

SANE Australia: Robyn Thompson 0414 427 291