Smoking Cessation

Tobacco use is a leading cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. Individuals living with mental illnesses have an average lifespan that is much lower than the general population, and represent 40% of the United States tobacco market. Addressing tobacco use can greatly improve quality and length of life.

NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is working with mental health providers to reduce the disproportionate rate of smoking among individuals living with mental illnesses and the negative health outcomes they experience.

We offer two different types of Smoking Cessation workshops:

Provider workshop: A one-hour workshop for staff that includes smoking cessation interventions, available FDA-approved medications, strategies for integrating cessation services into current practice, and more.

Individual workshop: This one-hour workshop covers information, strategies and resources to help with quitting. Topics include information on coping skills, asking for support, preventing relapse and FDA -approved medications. Additionally, interested individuals will have the opportunity for a one on one personalized feedback session with carbon monoxide monitoring and a free quit kit.

If you are interested in schedule one please contact:

Survey on Smoking and Mental Illness

NAMI National has been making efforts to help address smoking and mental illness. One way you can help us is by participating in this survey below to help us gather more information.

Participants may be eligible for this study if they:

  • Are 18 years or older
  • Have been diagnosed with a mental health condition

This study is an anonymous online survey that looks at tobacco use by people who experience mental health conditions. The goal of this study is to give researchers more information about how many people in this population use tobacco, how many would like to quit using tobacco, and some of the important experiences and feelings involved. Collecting this information is very important to support future research in tobacco cessation.

Please select this link to access the survey:


  • 32.6% of individuals living with a mental illness smoke cigarettes compared to 20.7% of the general population.
  • Individuals living with mental illnesses are more likely to smoke larger quantities and smoke more frequently than the general population.
  • Each year thousands of nonsmokers die from heart disease, cancer, and lung diseases caused by secondhand smoke.
  • Health care providers often believe individuals living with a mental illness need to smoke to help with symptoms of their mental illness, but in reality smoking often makes these symptoms worse. Withdrawal symptoms also often mirror symptoms of mental illnesses such as anxiety and insomnia.
  • When supported with counseling and medications, studies have found people living with a mental illness are able to quit at the same rates as anyone else.
  • The most effective way to quit smoking is through using a medication. With the support of a healthcare provider, individuals may combine multiple medications to help them quit or reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke.

Source: NAMI MN Smoking and Mental Illness Fact sheet

Keys to Success

  • Start the conversation

Educate yourself on the reasons your loved one might smoke then pick the right time to mention your concern and ask if they’ve considered quitting. Remember to listen more than you talk and make it clear that you are there for support. For more tips on talking to a loved one about quitting, and resources for smoking cessation, visit the Quitter’s Circle.

  • Mindfulness

Research shows that practicing mindfulness meditation over just a couple of weeks can reduce smoking by more than half. Even a few minutes of meditation each day has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. More information and mindfulness meditation audio files can be found at Free Mindfulness Project.

  • Exercise

Research shows that using exercise to cope reduces cravings and stress and also increases the likelihood of quitting. Exercising changes your body in ways that can help you quit smoking, including boosting feel-good brain chemicals and lowering stress hormones. You can find more information about the study here and find tips on starting an exercise program here.

  • Take a class 

For a free downloadable quit plan, visit or for additional resources, visit Clearway Minnesota.


NAMI Minnesota has published a number of fact sheets on smoking cessation.