Commercial Tobacco Product Use and Behavioral Health Conditions Can Affect Each Other

Head with circles around it showing dizziness

Nicotine has mood-changing effects that can make it feel for a short time like the symptoms of a behavioral health condition are gone or improved. This can lead to commercial tobacco* use and dependency on nicotine.28

Head with lines showing medicine interaction

Commercial tobacco smoke can interfere with some medications taken by people with behavioral health conditions.29 This means people taking the medications might not get the full benefit from those medications.30

People experiencing stress can also be more likely to smoke. People with mental health conditions experience many forms of serious stress:

Head with lightning showing stress

People with mental health conditions are more likely to have stressful living conditions, and to have a low yearly household income.29,30 When people experience severe or long-lasting forms of stress, their bodies respond by raising stress hormones and keeping them raised. When this goes on for a long time, they may develop health problems.31 Having multiple forms of stress has also been associated with current smoking in some adults.32

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When analyzed at the state level, only 35-67% of adults believed that people are caring and sympathetic of people with mental health conditions.15 People with mental health conditions might feel pressure to disclose their diagnoses, and they might smoke when faced with the stigma associated with their condition.15

People who smoke often also use other substances or have other substance use disorders.
  • The prevalence of illicit drug use among adults who smoke cigarettes is three times higher than the prevalence among adults who don’t smoke cigarettes.1
  • The percentage of adults who smoke cigarettes and binge drink is nearly twice that of adults who don’t smoke and binge drink.1
  • Among adults recently diagnosed with a substance use disorder, nearly two in three currently smoke.33
  • Among people in treatment for use of and dependency on an illegal drug, more than 3 in 4 currently smoke.34

Treating tobacco use disorder along with other behavioral health conditions is safe, does not interfere with treatment for other behavioral health conditions, and can help people in recovery have better health and quality of life.

person with sun above them

Quitting smoking is associated with decreases in depression, anxiety, and other mental health symptoms.17,35,36

no smoking sign

Quitting smoking during treatment for other substances is associated with an increase in long-term sobriety and a reduction in substance use disorder relapse.35

*“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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