Leadership Academies for Wellness and Smoking Cessation
SAMHSA Leadership Academy State Activities
ARKANSAS LEADERSHIP ACADEMY FOR WELLNESS AND SMOKING CESSATION
Arkansas was the seventh state to hold a Leadership Academy on Wellness and Smoking Cession. On the evening of March 20 and all day March 21, 2012, thirty-six leaders in public health, behavioral health, and tobacco control came together for a first-ever Arkansas initiative focused on reducing smoking prevalence among people with behavioral health disorders.
Planning committee member, Dr. Larry Miller, pointed out the need for tobacco treatment in behavioral health, "Smoking cessation is a very significant issue as we embrace recovery. Forty-four percent of all cigarettes are consumed by our patients with serious mental illness. These same persons die 25 years younger than their normal cohorts not from their mental illness but from the physical co-morbidities--strokes, heart attacks, hypertension, cancer...all related to smoking!"
John Selig, Director of the Arkansas Department of Human Services, welcomed participants to the summit. He began by acknowledging the dedication of the participants, “This group is the right group to get something done.” And he went on to assert, “This summit is a call to action—we are not here just to listen; we are here to work.”
Arkansas lived up to its earlier identity as the “Land of Opportunity” by taking advantage of the summit and identifying five strategies to reach the targets. The strategy groups include: data development, provider policy, state wide policy, collaborations, and provider education.
The collaborative attitude that prevailed at the summit was summed up by Paul Halverson, Director of the Arkansas Department of Health and longtime tobacco control advocate, “Every time we work together, every time we come together in Arkansas, I’m amazed at what we can do.”
Partners adopted four baseline measures:
- 22.9% cigarette smoking rate among the Arkansas adult population
- 23.5% cigarette smoking rate among the Arkansas youth population
- 8.5% smokeless tobacco rate among the Arkansas adult population
- 14.6% smokeless tobacco rate among the Arkansas youth population
The partners adopted four targets, with corresponding strategies, to be achieved by 2017:
- Reduce the cigarette smoking rate among the Arkansas adult population to 19.9%; they also set a stretch target at 19.3% (the national average)
- Reduce the cigarette smoking rate among the Arkansas youth population to 20.5%; they also set a stretch target at 19.5%
- Reduce smokeless tobacco use among Arkansas adult population to 5.5%
- Reduce smokeless tobacco use among Arkansas youth population to 11.6%
The Academies are made possible by SAMHSA and the SCLC. The goals of the Academies are to reduce smoking and nicotine addiction among behavioral health consumers and staff, to stimulate cooperation and collaboration among the fields of public health, including tobacco control and prevention, mental health, addiction treatment and prevention.