According to the Centers for Disease Control, almost half of the 443,000 tobacco-related deaths each year in the U.S. are among people with mental illness and substance use disorders, making it one of the deadliest addictions in the country. However, treatment of smokers with behavioral conditions has only recently been identified as a priority, even though their smoking rates are 2-4 times higher than in the general population (Lasser et al., 2000).
St. John's Well Child and Family Center, a non-profit community health center with locations in South and Central Los Angeles, serves many patients who smoke and suffer from chronic disease and behavioral health conditions.
Listen as Dr. Patricia Essilfie describes how the limited resources at St. John’s were transformed by a referral partnership with the California Smokers’ Helpline. Essilfie describes how the counselors at the Helpline improved the health of her patients who smoke by providing free, evidence-based services in multiple languages, caring support, consistent follow-up, and free educational materials.