Siskiyou – Tobacco-Free Behavioral Health is Fighting Health Inequity

People with severe mental or substance use disorders are 5 times more likely to smoke. Therefore, smoking is their leading cause of death. Unfortunately, much of the healthcare focused on these groups does not address tobacco. These groups are less likely to be offered tobacco quit support. However, a tobacco-free movement in our region is changing this.

New data shows a huge impact from tobacco-free behavioral health. In North Carolina, a 5-year initiative cut the mental health smoking disparity in half. On a national level, the substance use smoking disparity is also shrinking. State laws are one driving factor. Today 8 states require tobacco-free grounds for all mental health and substance use clinics. An additional 6 states require tobacco-free grounds for most of these clinics. California is not one of these states.

However, healthcare across California is stepping up to make a change. State-wide regulation is not necessary to fight this problem in our region. Changes at the clinic level are effective. For example, Red Rock Behavioral Health Services went tobacco-free. By supporting their clients to quit tobacco, they decreased smoking by 17%. While some behavioral health in California High County is tobacco-free, most is not. Last year, Lassen County Behavioral Health led the way in our region by becoming 100% tobacco-free. To further this success other healthcare in our region must go tobacco-free.

Smoke Free High Country is a part of the California Health Collaborative. We are helping healthcare in Lassen and Siskiyou fight tobacco. With support from our partners, we increased Kick It California referrals. Since our project began, referrals are up 26% in our region. These referrals are an essential first step in the quitting journey. For more info follow us on Facebook and Instagram @smokefreehighcountry or contact our project director Amanda Berryhill at [email protected].

Amanda Berryhill, [email protected];
California Health Collaborative, 25 Jan Court, Ste 130, Chico, CA 95928

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