People With Mental Health Conditions
Know the Facts
Smoking is much more common among adults with mental health conditions than those without mental health conditions. In fact, in 2020, 23.1% of U.S. adults with any mental illness reported smoking cigarettes during the past month compared to 14.5% of adults with no mental illness.*,†
- Approximately 1 in 4 (or 25%) of adults in the U.S. have some form of mental illness or substance use disorder, and these adults consume almost 40% of all cigarettes smoked by adults.*
Several factors connect commercial tobacco with higher levels of disease, disability, and death in different population groups. Learn more about health disparities related to commercial tobacco use that affect people with behavioral health conditions (mental health and substance use disorders).
Learn what percent of people currently smokes cigarettes, both in the United States overall and among specific population groups.
Meet Rebecca M. Rebecca, age 57, an avid runner, lives in Florida. She is a single mom and grandparent who was diagnosed with depression at age 33. Rebecca quit smoking at age 52.
People with mental health conditions, like depression and anxiety, face challenges in quitting smoking and may benefit from extra help to succeed. With the right support, you can quit smoking without worsening your mental health condition. In fact, studies show that quitting smoking can be good for your mental health.
When you quit smoking, your body and brain have to get used to not having nicotine. This can cause symptoms of nicotine withdrawal for a short time. For some people, nicotine withdrawal may include feelings of irritability, anxiety, or depression. These feelings can be managed by being active, connecting with other people, and staying busy. The good news is, once people have been smoke-free for a few months, their anxiety and depression levels are often lower than when they were smoking.
If you have feelings of depression or anxiety lasting for more than two weeks, or if the feelings feel unmanageable or get worse, you should get help. Talk to your doctor and seek appropriate emergency help.
- Sometimes people who are feeling depressed think about hurting themselves or dying. If you or someone you know is having these feelings, get help now.
- Call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency department for emergency medical treatment.
- Don’t be alone. Don’t leave another person alone if they are in crisis.
Rebecca M., age 57, struggled with depression and smoked cigarettes to help her cope with her feelings. The more Rebecca smoked, the harder she felt it was to quit. Rebecca finally quit smoking for good after getting care for her depression. She now leads a smokefree life.
“I quit smoking and I got care for my depression.”
- quitSTART appexternal icon—tips, information, and challenges to help you quit
- 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (Español)
- 1-800-838-8917 (中文)
- 1-800-556-5564 (한국어)
- 1-800-778-8440 (Tiếng Việt)
- Quit Smoking (En Español)
- Smokefree.govexternal icon (En Español)
- Asian Smokers’ Quitlineexternal icon
* Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2021). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP21-07-01-003, NSDUH Series H-56), p.A-48. Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
† Lipari R, Van Horn S. Smoking and Mental Illness Among Adults in the United States. The CBHSQ Report: March 30, 2017. Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.