|MAY 8-14, WILL FOCUS ON MENTAL HEALTH, TOBACCO CESSATION|
“Mental Health Equals Mental Wealth: Overcoming the Influences of Tobacco on the Mind” theme to encourage awareness, encouragement and support for cessation
|Sarasota, Fla. – Each year, Tobacco Free Florida and Sarasota County announce Tobacco Free Florida Week as the beginning of an initiative focusing on a major public health issue connected to tobacco use. This year, Tobacco Free Florida Week’s theme is “Mental Health Equals Mental Wealth: Overcoming the Influences of Tobacco on the Mind.” Tobacco Free Florida Week will be observed May 8-14, 2022 and is timed to align with Mental Health Awareness Month. Educational materials highlighting the correlation of increased tobacco use in populations who suffer from behavioral and mental health conditions will be shared with over 400 points of contact in the community, including many local mental health facilities and providers. Staff from DOH-Sarasota will be presenting at the Sarasota County Behavioral Health Stakeholders Consortium meeting on May 20, 2022 as well.|
For anyone interested in receiving educational materials focused on tobacco use in mental health populations, please contact Jennifer Sadonis at Jennifer.Sadonis@flhealth.gov.
Tobacco Free Florida is using “Mental Health Equals Mental Wealth” to address and correct misconceptions, including that tobacco provides an alternative when people feel stressed or anxious. Part of this traces back to decades ago, with tobacco companies marketing heavily to those with mental health issues and promoting myths and falsehoods about supposed health benefits of tobacco use.[i] This year’s theme of highlights the fact that tobacco and nicotine use can lead to negative health consequences among individuals with mental and/or behavioral health conditions.[ii] People with behavioral health conditions die about five years earlier than people without such conditions, and more than 50% of these deaths are from tobacco-related diseases.[iii] On a positive note, when people diagnosed with mental or behavioral health issues quit smoking, they are also more likely to avoid other drugs and harmful substances.
[iv] According to data from 2019 in Florida CHARTS, almost 53% of current adult smokers in Sarasota County attempted to quit smoking at least once in the past year. Tobacco Free Florida is here to help, ensuring access to cessation for all Floridians. “We chose the theme Mental Health Equals Mental Wealth: Overcoming the Influences of Tobacco on the Mind because there’s so much we can do together to help ourselves, our friends and neighbors, and our loved ones when it comes to tobacco use and mental health,” said Jennifer Sadonis, DOH-Sarasota Tobacco Prevention Program Manager. “This means getting educated and getting involved.” Smoking can exacerbate mental health symptoms and complicate treatment.[v] This can include interfering with the medications often associated with mental and behavioral health treatments.[vi]Public health officials in Sarasota County and across Florida are using the occasion of Tobacco Free Florida Week to encourage everyone to have conversations about the effects of tobacco, the benefits of quitting and the support available from trusted sources, including www.TobaccoFreeFlorida.com.
About Tobacco Free Florida The Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. Since the program began in 2007, more than 254,000 Floridians have successfully quit using one of Tobacco Free Florida’s free tools and services. There are now approximately 451,000 fewer adult smokers in Florida than there was 10 years ago, and the state has saved $17.7 billion in health care costs. To learn more about Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way services, visit www.TobaccoFreeFlorida.com or follow the campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TobaccoFreeFlorida or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tobaccofreefla.