Smokers with behavioral health comorbidity should be designated a tobacco use disparity group

Am J Public Health. 2013 Sep;103(9):1549-55. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301232. Epub 2013 Jul 18.


Smokers with co-occurring mental illness or substance use disorders are not designated a disparity group or priority population by most national public health and tobacco control groups. These smokers fulfill the criteria commonly used to identify groups that merit special attention: targeted marketing by the tobacco industry, high smoking prevalence rates, heavy economic and health burdens from tobacco, limited access to treatment, and longer durations of smoking with less cessation. A national effort to increase surveillance, research, and treatment is needed. Designating smokers with behavioral health comorbidity a priority group will bring much-needed attention and resources. The disparity in smoking rates among persons with behavioral health issues relative to the general population will worsen over time if their needs remain unaddressed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Priorities
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / economics
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Smoking Prevention
  • United States / epidemiology