In Indiana, individuals with behavioral health conditions, such as those who experience poor mental health days or those who engage in heavy drinking, smoke at a rate twice as high as the general population. To address this disparity, the Indiana State Department of Health and the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, in partnership with the National Behavioral Health Network (NBHN) and the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, hosted the Indiana Leadership Academy for Wellness and Tobacco Free Recovery. This state summit brought together a multi-sector coalition of government agencies, Medicaid managed care organizations and non-governmental partners to develop a state-wide action plan with a five-year target and locally-tailored strategies to reduce and ultimately eliminate tobacco use among individuals with behavioral health conditions.
Attendees of the multi-sectoral coalition represented 22 organizations including the Behavioral Health Services Community Health Network, Rethink Tobacco Indiana, Indiana Cancer Consortium, and the Indiana Department of Corrections. Several participants with lived experience shared moving and inspirational stories, confirming the need for policy and practice improvement related to tobacco use, while motivating the group to reach for ambitious state-wide goals.
The final Indiana State Action Plan for Wellness and Tobacco Free Recovery aims to reduce the smoking prevalence of adults who report poor mental health and adult heavy drinkers to 25% by 2025. Smaller strategy committees were then formed, based on common themes that emerged from discussions, to identify actionable steps to achieve this goal. These committees included education and training, policy and advocacy, access, mass media and communication, and data.
Governor Holcomb directs actions aimed at reducing Indiana’s smoking rate:
- The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) issued a standing order that will allow Hoosiers to purchase tobacco cessation products at pharmacies without having to first obtain a prescription, effective August 1.
- The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) announced that Indiana Medicaid will begin reimbursing providers for tobacco cessation counseling for expectant mothers, as well as remove copayments for tobacco cessation products for pregnant women and women up to one year postpartum.