People with mental and/or substance use disorders account for 40 percent of all cigarettes smoked in the United States. In one year, that’s about 177 billion cigarettes—enough to stretch to the moon and back 17 times.
For some with mental illness, smoking might seem pleasurable or like a way to reduce stress. Those in recovery from substance use might worry that quitting smoking could jeopardize their abstinence from other substances. But research indicates otherwise. In fact, smoking appears to interfere with behavioral health. Quitting smoking, on the other hand, can improve mental health and addiction recovery outcomes. For example, studies show that:
- Quitting smoking can decrease depression, anxiety, and stress; and increase positive mood and quality of life.
- For individuals in treatment for substance use disorders, smoking cessation can increase long-term abstinence from alcohol and other drugs.
That’s why SAMHSA promotes smoking cessation among those with mental or substance use disorders. In partnership with the Smoking Leadership Cessation Center, SAMHSA works with states to address the high prevalence of smoking among people with behavioral health conditions. These state efforts include Leadership and Policy Academies.
In short, quitting smoking means better mental health and a stronger chance of recovery from alcohol and other substance use disorders. For those who are trying to quit, the CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers campaign can help. The latest Tips come from Rebecca, a former smoker whose depression and quality of life improved after quitting. See Rebecca’s story and join SAMHSA in observing Kick Butts Day 2016.
For additional support in quitting, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) and visit http://www.smokefree.gov/.