On November 19th, 2015, Kentucky launched its first ever statewide initiative addressing smoking prevalence among people with mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

Hosted by the KY Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental, and Intellectual Disabilities, Department for Public Health, and Department for Medicaid Services, in partnership with SAMHSA, the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, and the National Behavioral Health Network for Tobacco & Cancer Control, the summit aimed to design an action plan for Kentucky to reduce tobacco use among individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders, and to create an environment of collaboration and integration among the fields of public health (including tobacco control and prevention), mental health, and substance abuse services.

Two baseline measures were selected (answering ‘Where are we now?‘), and ambitious targets were set for each baseline measure (deciding ‘Where do we want to be?‘). For example, the smoking rate among Kentuckians with poor mental health was 42.6% in 2013 (Baseline #1). Through this strategy session, partners agreed on setting goals to reduce smoking among Kentuckians with poor mental health and Kentuckians who binge drink each by 20% by 2020. Meeting partners created a detailed action plan outlining strategies and activities to help achieve both targets.

Please read Kentucky’s Action Plan for a more detailed snapshot of the meeting, along with outcomes and next steps.

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