This resource includes talking points designed to help health equity and tobacco control advocates explain why tobacco-related inequities exist and persist and point people toward equity-focused solutions. In the case of the behavioral health population and tobacco use, it was found that:

  • People who have a serious mental illness are twice as likely to live in a neighborhood with more tobacco retailers and more advertisements for tobacco products.
  • People with mental illnesses are among the heaviest users of commercial tobacco, however, tobacco cessation treatment is rarely part of mental health treatment plans.
  • People with mental illnesses are more likely to have experienced stress in regards to living conditions (low income or unemployment) and discrimination and stigma and both factors can contribute to increased tobacco use.

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