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Smoking Cessation Success

Smoking is a major health concern for people with mental illness, who purchase 30–40% of the cigarettes sold in the United States. These individuals die 14 years earlier than others with a mental illness who don’t smoke.

The good news is 48% of the people now using the State of Minnesota smoking cessation services have a serious mental illness – and they are reaching their goals to stop smoking. Touchstone Mental Health is joining this effort by helping our clients stop smoking.

Thanks to a grant from Clearway MN, one Touchstone employee is now a certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist (TTS). This TTS is training the rest of the program staff in smoking cessation services and best practices to address tobacco use with their clients. Staff are now having conversations with their clients about their tobacco use and smoking cessation. The agency will be using carbon monoxide monitors to help clients see their improved lung capacity as they decrease smoking. We are excited that 86 clients have been talking with staff about tobacco use and five people have asked for smoking cessation services in the first 5 weeks of collecting tobacco information.

Touchstone Mental Health staff participated in the Minnesota Tobacco Summit which resulted in the first statewide initiative to decrease tobacco use for people with mental illness. The plan addresses this health disparity through provider education, policy, and systems changes to decrease tobacco use for people with a mental illness.

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