Mental Health and Lung Health Advocates Unite to Address Smoking Epidemic among Those with Mental Illness | Mental Health America

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Mental Health and Lung Health Advocates Unite to Address Smoking Epidemic among Those with Mental Illness

Mental Health America (MHA) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) are joining forces with Quitter’s Circle®, an online quit-smoking community from the American Lung Association and Pfizer, to help overcome the unique barriers associated with smoking cessation in the mental health community. Smokers with mental health conditions face greater nicotine dependence, more withdrawal symptoms, and lower quit rates than other smokers.[i][ii] Yet, there is limited information about quitting smoking within the mental health community.

Quitter’s Circle® is a helpful resource for individuals with mental illness, as it provides additional support needed and focuses on the benefits of quitting smoking. To help address the gaps observed in this community, the organizations have issued a consensus statement drawing attention to the need for integrated healthcare for those with mental illness.

“While progress has been made in decreasing smoking rates in the general population, smoking in the mental health community has remained steady,” [iii][iv] said Ken Duckworth, M.D., National Alliance on Mental Illness. “For those with a mental illness, quitting smoking needs to have an integrated approach that takes into account an individual’s mental and physical wellbeing.”

“People with mental illness are more likely to smoke than the general population,” 4 said Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO, Mental Health America. “The unique treatment of those with mental health conditions requires a customized approach that accounts for physical, mental, and social support.”

Research shows that people with mental illness can quit smoking with the help of customized quit-smoking support, including behavioral counseling and monitoring.[v]

“Since its launch, Quitter’s Circle® has made a significant impact on the lives of people who have been struggling to quit smoking,” said S. Christy Sadreameli, M.D., MHS, American Lung Association volunteer medical spokesperson. “Our new partners brought the expertise we needed to expand the resources of this program to a particularly vulnerable, at-risk population, providing them with support specially tailored to meet their needs.”

For information and tips to help on the journey to quitting smoking, visit

Quitter’s Circle® is a registered trademark of Pfizer.


About Quitter’s Circle®
Quitter’s Circle® is an online community designed to help smokers face common obstacles associated with quitting. Users can access a variety of interactive tools and resources in a caring and supportive environment aimed at easing the burden of quit attempts.

If you or someone you know wants to quit smoking, download the Quitter’s Circle® app, available on Android and Apple smartphones and the Apple Watch. For information and tips to help on the journey to quit, visit or join the Quitter’s Circle® community at, @QuittersCircle on Instagram, and @QuittersCircle on Twitter.

About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education, and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

About Mental Health America
Mental Health America (MHA)–founded in 1909–is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all Americans. Our work is driven by our commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need it; with successful treatment as the goal.

About the National Alliance on Mental Illness
NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. Join the conversation at and stay connected with #CureStigma and #StigmaFree on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Pfizer Inc.: Working together for a healthier world®
At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety, and value in the discovery, development, and manufacture of health care products. Our global portfolio includes medicines and vaccines as well as many of the world's best-known consumer health care products. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments, and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments, and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, Pfizer has worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. To learn more, please visit us at

[i] Prochaska JJ, Das S, Young-Wolff KC. Smoking, Mental Illness, and Public Health. Annual Review of Public Health. 2017;38(1):165-185. doi:10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031816-044618.

[ii] Bowden JA, Miller CL, Hiller JE. Smoking and Mental Illness: A Population Study in South Australia. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 2011;45(4):325-331. doi:10.3109/00048674.2010.536904.

[iii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States. Accessed August 31, 2018.

[iv] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2013). The National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Accessed August 30, 2018.

[v] Prochaska JJ, Velicer WF, Prochaska JO, Delucchi K, Hall SM. Comparing intervention outcomes in smokers treated for single versus multiple behavioral risks. Health Psychol. 2006;25(3):380-388.

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