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National Recovery Month: Substance abuse, mental health and tobacco

Throughout September, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) celebrates Recovery Month, raising awareness of mental health and substance abuse disorders and celebrating people who have recovered.

People with mental health and substance abuse disorders use tobacco at much higher rates than the rest of the population.

SAMHSA estimates that 21.5 million Americans 12 years and older struggled with substance dependence or abuse in 2014, including an estimated 13.8 percent of Americans between the ages of 12 and 20 who were binge drinkers. Those populations are at elevated risk of the harms of tobacco use. It’s estimated that 63.6 percent of adults with a substance abuse disorder and between 45.4 percent and 70.9 percent of drinkers with alcohol dependency smoke. A recent study found that young adults who drink are four times as likely to be current cigarette smokers.

substance abuse and smoking

SAMHSA also estimates that 9.8 million adults in the U.S. had a mental illness in the past year. People struggling with mental health disorders also smoke at higher rates than the general population: ranging from 33 percent to 46 percent among people with generalized anxiety disorders, 35.6 percent to 45.2 percent among people who experience panic disorders, and between 32 percent and 45.8 percent among people who experience depression.

mental illness and smoking

To help honor the voices of recovery and to show support for those struggling with mental health and substance abuse disorders, Truth Initiative is sharing the truth about higher rates of tobacco use by people with mental health challenges and the lower rates of successfully quitting.