An UNDO Project
Last Updated: 3/10/2023
A woman sitting down with a IV in her arm filled with smokeA woman sitting down with a IV in her arm filled with smoke

People with Mental Health Challenges

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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.

The proof is in the data

[Data last updated March 2023 ]
Indicator
People with Mental Health Challenges
General Population
Adult tobacco use
1. Adult cigarette use: Adult cigarette smoking prevalence
12.5%
The estimate is significantly higher than the California general population.
6.7%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2019-20. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
2. Change in adult cigarette use: Rate of change in adult cigarette smoking, 2014 to 2020
-54%
The 2020 estimate is significantly lower than the 2014 estimate.
-46.4%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2019-20. 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)
21.7%
The estimate is significantly higher than the California general population.
11.3%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2019-20. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
Youth tobacco use
4. Youth cigarette use: Youth cigarette smoking prevalence
3%
The estimate is significantly higher than the California general population.
1.2%
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2019-20. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
5. Youth tobacco use: Youth tobacco use prevalence (e.g. cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other vaping products, other tobacco products)
16.1%
The estimate is significantly higher than the California general population.
9.7%
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2019-20. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
Secondhand smoke
6. Adult secondhand tobacco exposure: Proportion of adults exposed to secondhand smoke or vape
50.9%
The estimate is significantly higher than the California general population.
35.2%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2019-20. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
7. Youth secondhand tobacco exposure: Proportion of youth exposed to secondhand smoke or vape
44.7%
The estimate is significantly higher than the California general population.
33.1%
  • California Student Tobacco Survey, 2019-20. San Diego, CA: Center for Research and Intervention in Tobacco Control, University of California, San Diego.
8. Smoke-free homes: Proportion of adults with smoke-free homes
84.4%
The estimate is significantly lower than the California general population.
91.8%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2019-20. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
Cessation
9. Quitting: Proportion of smokers who tried quitting in the last 12 months
69.3%
The estimate is significantly higher than the California general population.
55.6%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2019-20. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
10. Doctor advice to quit: Proportion of smokers whose doctors advised them to quit
50.7%
46.8%
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2017-18. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
Kick It California
Percent of enrollees
Percent of smokers
11. Kick It California enrollees: Proportion of Kick It California enrollees
52.6%
The estimate is significantly higher than the population’s make-up of California’s adult smokers.
12%
of smokers are People With Mental Health Challenges
  • California Smokers’ Helpline Caller Intake Reports, 2020. San Diego, CA: California Smokers’ Helpline, University of California, San Diego.
  • California Health Interview Survey, 2019-20. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
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How you can help

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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 >