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Tobacco Amongst Individuals with Mental Illness or Substance Use Disorders

The American Lung Association in Minnesota is working to decrease tobacco's significant and disproportionate impact on people with mental illness and chemical dependency. More than 1 in 3 adults with serious psychological distress smoke, yet only 1 in 4 mental treatment facilities offer tobacco cessation services. The information on this page will provide resources to trainings, cessation materials, and other lines to integrating tobacco treatment services in organizations that serve people with mental illness and chemical dependency.

Resources for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Professionals

Cover of Tips from The Field guide

Tips From The Field Guide

View our newest resource, How to Address Tobacco Use in Minnesota's Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services: TIPS FROM THE FIELD, designed by Minnesota mental health and substance use disorder professionals. This guide provides easy-to-follow information and resources to help others incorporate tobacco treatment and support services.

View guide »

Downloadable PDFs

Provide Healthy Facilities
Tobacco-Free Grounds Flyer - Provide Healthy FacilitiesDownload PDF

Help Your Clients Get Healthy
Tobacco Treatment Flyer - Help your clients get healthyDownload PDF

Tobacco-Free Grounds
Tobacco Free Grounds and Tobacco Treatment are Right for Your Program FlyerDownload PDF

Minnesota Leadership Academy Collaborative

In December of 2016, leaders and advocates in public health, behavioral health, and tobacco control came together to continue collaboration and integration among the fields focused on reducing smoking prevalence among people with mental illnesses and substance use disorders in Minnesota. The following areas were identified as strategies which would benefit from collective action including social norms, delivery systems and statewide policy. Partners have stepped up to provide leadership for the Action Teams; however, the success of this work will rely on the contributions and momentum generated as more partners being to engage in each Action Team. For more information and to get involved, contact Reba Mathern-Jacobson at or 701-354-9719.

Read the Leadership Academy Statement on Tobacco Dependence Treatment and Tobacco-Free Policies in Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment Settings

Integrating Tobacco Treatment Services

The American Lung Association may be able to work with you to integrate tobacco into your mental health or substance use organization through policy, systems, and environmental changes. Contact Reba Mathern-Jacobson at 701-354-9719 to find out more information.

A Toolkit to Address Tobacco Use in Behavioral Health Settings: A Guide for mental health and substance use treatment professionals

This toolkit was developed for a broad continuum of mental health and substance use treatment professionals and contains a variety of information and step-by-step instructions, including:

  • Low burden means of assessing readiness to quit
  • Tobacco treatment
  • Strategies for implementing policy
  • Strategies to increase cessation opportunities and success
  • Referral to community resources

Lung Association change perspective – Four mental health practitioners explain why incorporating tobacco treatment into their services is important and part of their contribution to providing health services for clients. Watch video.

Cessation Support Literature

Another reason to consider tobacco use: Did you know? Health isn't the only reason people who smoke should quit. These pieces outline other reasons to consider quitting tobacco.

  • Employment – People who smoke have a harder time finding employment, and earn an average of $5 less per hour than their peers.
  • Housing – By July 30, 2018, HUD will require every public housing agency to have a smoke-free policy
  • Pets – Tobacco smoke can give your pet asthma, respiratory problems, and cancer
  • Sobriety – Alcoholism is 10 times higher in people who smoke
  • Treatment – People who seek help decreasing tobacco use have a better chance at succeeding.
  • Side effects - Smoking can make your meds less effective. Another reason to consider quitting.

For the best chance at a successful quit, use therapy and cessation aid(s) approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This Cessation Coverage in Minnesota document details the types of coverage insurance providers in Minnesota offer.

Smoking cessation in Smokefree Housing – Beginning June 30, 2018, all public housing agencies operated by HUD will begin enforcing a smokefree. Utilize these tools to support residents with mental illness or substance use disorders live successfully in their housing.

American Lung Association Freedom from Smoking - The American Lung Association has been helping people quit smoking for over 35 years through Freedom From Smoking®. Ranked as one of the most effective programs in the country, Freedom From Smoking has helped hundreds of thousands individuals quit smoking for good and is now available in a variety of formats.

Consumers Helping Others Improve the Condition by Ending Smoking - Dr. Williams is the founder and medical director of CHOICES, a consumer driven initiative to outreach smokers with mental illness in the community via mental health peer counselors.

Learning About Healthy Living curriculum – This treatment manual, developed by Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Division of Addiction Psychiatry is to provide a format to address tobacco for people who smoke with series mental illness who are either prepared to quit smoking or who are simply contemplating quitting in the future.

Local Trainings

Tobacco Cessation Coverage in Minnesota: An Overview for Behavioral Health Organizations

Join the American Lung Association, ClearWay MinnesotaSM, and People Incorporated to learn about the tobacco cessation options that are available in Minnesota for behavioral health organizations.

  • Identify the cessation resources available in Minnesota.
  • Understand current successes and barriers of providing cessation services in state.
  • Discuss how one organization is utilizing cessation coverage for patients with mental illness or substance use disorders.
  • Recognize how other behavioral health organizations are billing for tobacco cessation services.
  • Review current tobacco cessation resources and applicable guides.

YouTube Recording


Webinar 1: Foundation – The Rationale

The rationale for addressing tobacco within addiction services, a description of an integrated recovery-oriented model, and an overview of the webinar series.
Learning Objectives -  Participants will:

  • Be able to describe the neurobiological and behavioral association of tobacco use to other drugs of addiction.
  • Identify how addressing tobacco improves treatment outcomes and overall drug recovery.
  • Cite at least 3 barriers and solutions to effectively integrate tobacco interventions into existing programming.   

YouTube Recording


Webinar 2: Behavioral Interventions – Tobacco Awareness

Practical counseling skills to support tobacco interventions with a focus on client engagement strategies.
Learning Objectives -  Participants will:

  • Learn to adapt evidence based tobacco counseling protocols to a recovery-oriented treatment culture.
  • Identify 2 counseling methods to ensure that the intervention is appropriate to client stage-readiness. 
  • Describe 5 tobacco awareness topics designed to advance client stage-readiness.   

YouTube Recording


Webinar 3: Behavioral Interventions – Tobacco Recovery

Practical counseling skills to help clients to establish and maintain tobacco abstinence.
Learning Objectives -  Participants will:

  • Be able to cite 2 fundamental components of evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment.
  • Identify counseling strategy to verify and bolster client motivation. 
  • Describe at least 6 coping techniques to assist with the development of a personalized tobacco recovery plan. 

YouTube Recording


Webinar 4: Tobacco Interventions in Special Populations

A review of tobacco use and treatment strategies for individuals with co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness, and/or those who are HIV infected.
Learning Objectives -  Participants will:

  • Identify the prevalence and impact of tobacco use specific to the clinical populations.
  • Learn to adapt tobacco intervention strategy to appropriately address co-morbidity factors.
  • Review at least 6 coping techniques to assist with the development of a personalized tobacco recovery plan.

YouTube Recording


HUD Overview and Reasonable Accommodations
Darlene Huang, J.D., M.P.H

Intended audience: Mental health and substance use professionals and Public Housing Agency staff


  • Learn about HUD’s Smokefree Rule and what it means for people with mental health or substance use disorders
  • Understand the scope of reasonable accommodations in relation to the HUD rule
  • Provide a networking forum for professionals to ask questions, share successes and challenges in helping people transition to smokefree housing (last 15 minutes)

ReadyTalk Recording


Webinar 5: Electronic Cigarettes

A description of the electronic nicotine delivery devices available and a review of current research findings.

Learning Objectives -  Participants will:

  • Be able to cite the prevalence of electronic cigarette usage among adults and adolescents.
  • Describe the components and functioning of electronic nicotine delivery devices.  
  • Learn of the risks associated to vaping and use of electronic cigarettes.

YouTube Recording

Other Resources and Links

Contact info: Reba Mathern-Jacobson 701-354-9719

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