Tobacco use persists as an addictive behavior affecting people living with mental illnesses, substance use disorders, and other addictions. Although tobacco control research and practice has made incredible strides in reducing the tobacco use prevalence in the general population, these gains have not been adequately realized by those living with mental illnesses and other behavioral health challenges. These populations continue to use tobacco products at rates that are twice the general population and have disproportionate morbidity and mortality associated with such use. Without addressing this issue, people with behavioral health challenges are further hindered in their process of recovery from physical and mental illnesses, as well as other addictions.
The good news is that tobacco use, although a chronic addictive behavior, is treatable. Provided here are tailored approaches for those with behavioral health challenges to optimize their success in stopping tobacco use.