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Tobacco Dependence

Ending Tobacco Dependence for Individuals With Mental Illness

On average, individuals with mental illness die up to 25 years before their counterparts in the general population. Tobacco use is a huge contributing factor. “People tend to assume that people with serious mental illnesses are dying years earlier than the general population because of things like suicide or the side effects of homelessness. But that’s not the case. They’re dying because of chronic conditions like diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or cancer, all of which are a direct result of tobacco use,” says Kim Richter, director for the tobacco cessation program at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Specifically in Kansas, the reported smoking rate among adults with mental illness is more than twice the smoking rate among adults without mental illness. A 2015 research report concludes that “people with high levels of psychological distress continue to smoke at particularly high rates, and may benefit less from existing tobacco control measures.”

Behavioral Health Tobacco Project

NAMI Kansas is the lead organization for the Behavioral Health Tobacco Project, a collaborative undertaking funded by the Kansas Health Foundation and focused on expanding health insurance coverage and access to evidence based treatment for individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders.  The broad goal is to significantly reduce the number of Kansans in this target population who use tobacco products. We are working closely with the organizations listed below to have the largest possible impact.

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network ▪ American Heart Association ▪ Amerigroup ▪ Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas ▪ CRO Network ▪ Johnson County Mental Health ▪ Health ICT ▪ Kansas Academy of Family Physicians ▪ Kansas Association of  Addiction Professionals ▪ Kansas Association of Local Health Departments ▪ Kansas Department for Aging & Disability Services ▪ Kansas Department of Health and Environment▪ KIDS Network/Kansas Infant Death and SIDS Network ▪ KU Medical Center ▪ Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department ▪ March of Dimes ▪ Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas ▪ NAMI Kansas ▪ New Directions for Behavioral Health ▪ Sunflower State Health Plan ▪ Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition ▪ United Health Care

Tobacco Guideline for Behavioral Health

The Guideline is designed as a road map for providers to support their clients who are motivated to end their dependence on tobacco products.  The Guideline is based on 12 essential strategies and includes a list of resources to assist providers in adopting specific practices that integrate tobacco cessation with other behavioral health treatment.  We invite health care providers and their associations to endorse the Guideline as an aspirational statement.  Click here to see which provider agencies and associations have endorsed the Tobacco Guideline.

Tobacco Guideline Self-Assessment

This self-assessment tool is a companion document modeled on the 12 strategies in the Tobacco Guideline for Behavioral Health.  Health care providers may use the tool to estimate the extent to which the strategies are being implemented and to describe how  implementation is taking place.   Completing the self-assessment will help providers identify the gaps in addressing the Tobacco Guideline.

Expanded Tobacco Cessation Benefits for KanCare Enrollees – This handy card describes the new counseling and pharmacy benefits beginning in 2018 to support KanCare members who are seeking to end their dependence on tobacco.  Contact NAMI Kansas to request copies or to receive a high resolution file to print copies for your use.

The Economics of Proactive Smoking Cessation Treatment for Individuals with Serious Mental Illness and/or Substance Use Disorder in the Medicaid Population –  An economic study prepared for NAMI Kansas by Tami Gurley-Calvez, MA, PhD and Christiadi, MA, PhD, University of Kansas School of Medicine.

Resources for Ending Tobacco Dependence

Building Capacity for Tobacco Treatment in Kansas – Click this link to learn about opportunities to provide health care professionals in Kansas with access to tobacco treatment resources and professional development opportunities, including three training opportunities in 2018.

Adopting and Implementing An Effective Smoke-Free Housing Policy – The website supports implementation of smoke-free housing policies by sharing practical ideas ad insights from housing providers and residents who have already gone smoke-free.

Tobacco Cessation Coverage for Veterans.  The linked document from the American Lung Association provides details on tobacco cessation benefits from the Veterans Health Administration.

Resources for Tobacco-Free Worksites from WorkWellKS

Training for Systems Change: Addressing Tobacco and Behavioral Health

What helps a smoker quit? In these videos from CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers campaign, Rebecca reveals that the birth of her grandson motivated her to quit for good. She made other healthy changes too. She sought help for her depression and began to exercise.  As a result, she is healthier and happier. – Resources from the National Institutes of Health – smokefreevet, smokefreewomen, smokefreeteen, smokefreeespañol, smokefree60+  

Tobacco and Behavioral Health: The Issue and Resources – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Promising Policies And Practices To Address Tobacco Use By Persons With Mental And Substance Use Disorders – Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health, Office on Smoking & Health


EX – A New Way to Think About Quitting Smoking



Resources for Youth

RESIST: Fighting the Influence of Big Tobacco

Tobacco Free College Campuses: Resources, Tools and Support to Keep Students Healthy at School

KDHE Tobacco Cessation Resources

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment Tobacco Use Prevention Program will provide materials free of charge to promote tobacco cessation resources available through KanCare (Kansas Medicaid) and the online Brief Tobacco Intervention course. Resources are available that target both providers and KanCare participants. Click here to view and order available materials.

Kansas Tobacco Quitline

Download the Quitline flyer outlining service enhancements to individuals with mental illnesses and substance abuse conditions.

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