Florida No Tobacco Week | Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade

Miami, Florida – Each year, Tobacco Free Florida and the Miami-Dade County Florida Department of Health announce Florida Tobacco Free Week as the beginning of an initiative focused on a major public health issue related to tobacco use. . This year’s Florida Tobacco Free Week theme is “Mental Health Equals Mental Wealth: Overcoming the Influences of Tobacco on the Mind.” Florida No Tobacco Week will be observed May 8-14, 2022 and is timed to align with Mental Health Awareness Month.

Tobacco Free Florida uses “Mental Health Equals Mental Wealth” to address and correct misconceptions, including that tobacco offers an alternative when people feel stressed or anxious. Some of this goes back decades, with tobacco companies doing a lot of marketing to people with mental health issues and promoting myths and misrepresentations about the purported health benefits of tobacco.[i]

This year’s theme highlights the fact that the consumption of tobacco and nicotine can have negative consequences on the health of people with mental and/or behavioral disorders.[ii] People with behavioral health conditions die about five years earlier than people without these conditions, and more than 50% of those deaths are due to tobacco-related diseases.[iii]

On a positive note, when people diagnosed with mental or behavioral health problems quit smoking, they are also more likely to avoid other harmful drugs and substances.[iv]

“The focus on nicotine use and mental health is so prominent that many are unaware of the negative health consequences of these nicotine products and how they can exacerbate mental health issues” , said Yesenia Villalta, DNP, MSN, APRN, health officer/administrator for the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County. “This week, partners and staff will help educate our community about the harms of nicotine products and the resources available to help those in need.”

Smoking can exacerbate mental health symptoms and complicate treatment.[v] This can include interference with medications often associated with mental and behavioral health treatments.[vi] Public health officials in Miami-Dade and across Florida are taking the opportunity of Florida Tobacco Free Week to encourage everyone to have conversations about the effects of tobacco, the benefits of quitting, and 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 the Florida 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 about 451,000 fewer adult smokers in Florida than 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.

[i] Apollonio, D., & Malone, RE (2005). Marketing to the marginalized: The tobacco industry targets the homeless and the mentally ill. Tobacco Control, 14(6), 409-415. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/tc.2005.011890 Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/73d0x34w
[ii] Centers for Control and Prevention of Disasters. (2021, December 3). Smoking and quitting in people with behavioral health problems. Centers for Control and Prevention of Disasters. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/disparities/mental-illness-substance-use/index.htm
[iii] Richter KP, Arnsten JH. A rationale and model for addressing tobacco dependence in drug addiction treatment. Drug treatment, prevention and policy. 2006;1(1):23.
[iv] Weinberger, Andrea H et al. “Smoking is associated with an increased risk of relapse of substance use disorders: a nationally representative prospective longitudinal survey.” The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry vol. 78.2 (2017): e152-e160. doi:10.4088/JCP.15m10062
[v] Leadership Center for Smoking Cessation. Fact Sheet: Drug Interactions with Tobacco Smoke. San Francisco: Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, University of California; 2015.
[vi] Desai HD, Seabolt J, Jann MW. Smoking in patients receiving psychotropic drugs: a pharmacokinetic perspective. CNS drugs. 2001;15(6):469-94. doi: 10.2165/00023210-200115060-00005. PMID: 11524025.

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