Patients with schizophrenia have the highest known rates of cigarette smoking, but less is known about their smoking behavior and the differences across geographical regions, including Croatia.
The aim of this study was to compare patterns of nicotine dependence between patients with schizophrenia and healthy individuals, and to determine the relationship between clinical presentation and the severity of smoking.
This cross-sectional study included 182 recently hospitalized male inpatients and 280 healthy males, who were daily smokers. All participants have fulfilled the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND). Patients were also evaluated by the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS).
Patients had higher FTND total score (p = 0.010), smoked their first cigarette earlier in the morning (p = 0.000), consumed higher number of cigarettes (p = 0.000), while healthy subjects had more difficulties to refrain from smoking in places where it is forbidden (p = 0.000) and smoked more even when they were sick (p = 0.000). While severe dependence was more prevalent in the patient group, light dependence was more frequent in control subjects (p = 0.04). Smoking behavior was not associated with either PANSS total score or any of its subscales and items.
Smokers with schizophrenia differ from healthy smokers in both smoking behavior and level of dependence. Longitudinal studies are needed to shed more light on the complex relationship between smoking and psychopathology in schizophrenia.
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