People with Behavioral Health Conditions Experience a Health Burden from Commercial Tobacco

Approximately one in four of adults in the U.S. have some form of mental illness or substance use disorder.

Approximately 1 in 4 adults in the United States (US) has a behavioral health condition such as a mental health condition and/or a substance use disorder.

Commercial tobacco* prevents achieving health equity for people with behavioral health conditions.1 For example:

  • In 2019, 27.2% of adults with a mental health condition reported smoking cigarettes in the past month – compared to 15.8% of adults with no mental health condition.2
    • almost 40% of all cigarettes smoked by U.S. adults are consumed by people with behavioral health conditions
  • The most common causes of death among people with behavioral health conditions are heart disease, cancer, and lung disease, which can all be caused by smoking.3,4,5
  • People with mental health conditions who smoke cigarettes have two times the risk of premature death than people with behavioral health conditions who do not smoke.6
  • People with behavioral health conditions are targets of aggressive commercial tobacco marketing.7,8
  • People with behavioral health conditions may not be protected from secondhand smoke when seeking services in behavioral health treatment settings. Only about half of mental health treatment centers and one-third of substance use disorder treatment centers report having a smokefree campus.9 There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
    • Nearly 90% of adults with schizophrenia said they smoke cigarettes
  • People with certain diagnoses, such as depression and anxiety, or people substance use disorders (other than tobacco use disorder) are more likely to use commercial tobacco than those without these disorders.10,11,12,13 For example, nearly 90% of adults with schizophrenia reported smoking cigarettes in a 2006 survey.14
*“Commercial tobacco” means harmful products that are made and sold by tobacco companies. It does not include “traditional tobacco” used by Indigenous groups for religious or ceremonial purposes.
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