The National Partnership on Behavioral Health and Tobacco Use

Adults with mental health and/or substance use disorders represent 25% of the population, but account for about 40% of all cigarettes smoked in the US. Despite great strides in reducing tobacco use and its devastating health consequences, certain groups of people have not benefitted from this progress. Chief among them are those with mental illness and/or substance use disorders, collectively known as behavioral health conditions. In October 2016, the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center (SCLC) at the University of California, San Francisco convened leaders from the tobacco control/public health and behavioral health sectors to develop a plan to expand and accelerate efforts to combat disparities in smoking prevalence and tobacco treatment for those with mental health and substance use disorders.

The summit produced a national action plan setting forth practical strategies in the areas of networking, education and clinical guidance to strengthen tobacco use prevention, increase cessation, and ultimately reduce smoking prevalence in the behavioral health population. The participating organizations and agencies also set a target to reduce smoking prevalence among adults with behavioral health conditions to 30% by 2020. This target was met more quickly than anticipated, in early 2018. When the group convened its second leadership summit in November 2018 to assess progress and redefine strategies, a new and even more ambitious target was established to reduce smoking prevalence among those with behavioral health conditions to 20% by 2022 (#20by22). In 2019, NSDUH data provided by Doug Tipperman shows that 28.9% of adults with any behavioral health condition smoked. Though 2020 numbers are still unknown, this drop is a positive step toward meeting our goal of #20by22!


Check out our campaign webpage at for more information on the strategies and progress of the Partnership.