People With Mental Health Challenges

The Story of People With Mental Health Challenges

Big Tobacco actively works to ensure that they can profit off people with mental health challenges. They funded misleading research to show that people with mental illness can use their products to relieve symptoms.1 The Industry has even distributed free cigarettes in psychiatric facilities.2

Due to predatory tactics like these, people with mental health challenges have the second highest smoking and tobacco use rates in California.3 Factors such as stressful living conditions, low income and lack of access to health coverage and care can all make attempts to quit more challenging.4

People with mental health challenges shouldn’t have to fight off Big Tobacco.

  1. https://truthinitiative.org/sites/default/files/Achieving%20Health%20Equity%20in%20Tabacco%20Control%20-%20Version%201.pdf
  2. https://truthinitiative.org/sites/default/files/Achieving%20Health%20Equity%20in%20Tabacco%20Control%20-%20Version%201.pdf
  3. 2017 Story of Inequity, Indicator: Prevalence of adult cigarette smoking by priority population group and, Indicator: Prevalence of adult tobacco use by priority population group, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.
  4. https://truthinitiative.org/sites/default/files/Achieving%20Health%20Equity%20in%20Tabacco%20Control%20-%20Version%201.pdf

The Proof is in the Data

Indicator
People With Mental Health Challenges
General Population
Adult Tobacco Use
1.Adult Cigarette Use: Adult cigarette smoking prevalenceThe estimate is significantly higher than the California general population.26.7%11.0%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2016-17. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
2.Change in Adult Cigarette Use: Rate of change in adult cigarette smoking, 2014 to 2017-1.8%-11.3%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2016-17. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2013-14. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
3.Adult Tobacco Use: Adult tobacco use prevalence (e.g. cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other vaping products, other tobacco products)20.1%14.6%
  • California Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2017. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health.
Secondhand Smoke
4.Adult Secondhand Tobacco Exposure: Proportion of adults exposed to secondhand smokeThe estimate is significantly higher than the California general population.53.5%45.3%
  • California Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2017. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health.
5.Smoke-free Homes: Proportion of adults with smoke-free homesThe estimate is significantly lower than the California general population.80.1%86.6%
  • California Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2017. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health.
Cessation
6.California Smokers' Helpline Enrollees: Proportion of California Smokers' Helpline enrolleesThe estimate is significantly higher than the priority population's make-up of California's adult smokers.54.4%10.1%of smokers are
People With Mental Health Challenges
  • California Smokers' Helpline Caller Intake Reports, 2018. San Diego, CA: California Smokers' Helpline, University of California, San Diego.
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2016-17. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
7.Quitting: Proportion of smokers who tried quitting in the last 12 months67.1%58.4%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2016-17. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Organizations around the state are working
to fix tobacco-related health disparities.

Find out more about what each organization is doing to fight the
tobacco industry's predatory tactics.

How you can help

You have a voice and can make a difference.

Fix It!

A Story of Inequity

Tobacco's Impact on Health Disparities in California

For decades, the tobacco industry has aggressively targeted California’s diverse communities with predatory practices. Internal documents from Big Tobacco outline their strategies – many of which are shocking attempts to peddle deadly products by way of product discounts and manipulative advertising. They even gave away free products to youth in the past. These tactics masquerade as support for communities under the guise of cultural celebration.

Unfortunately, the tactics have worked. Big Tobacco aggressively targeted communities and, as a result, some populations have higher rates of tobacco use, experience greater secondhand smoke exposure at work and at home, and have higher rates of tobacco-related disease than the general population.1

Addressing tobacco-related health inequities is key to California’s efforts to fight tobacco, our state’s number one cause of preventable death and disease.2 Tobacco use, pricing, and its impact across California were analyzed where significant disparities were found across various populations. See how Big Tobacco affects each community in the Nation’s most diverse state.

A Story Of Inequity Methodology >

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Tobacco-Related Disparities
  2. Extinguishing the Tobacco Epidemic in California, April 11, 2017, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention