Florence County to stress tobacco use during Mental Health Week

Florence, Wis. — Mental Health Awareness Week is Oct.1-7. Florence County Health Department will mark the week by raising awareness of the terrible toll tobacco takes on the mentally ill in Wisconsin.

According to the 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance system, 27 percent of individuals in Wisconsin diagnosed with depression smoke, compared with the state’s overall rate of 17 percent.

“Tobacco use in this population needs to be addressed if we want to continue to reduce the negative impact tobacco has in our communities,” said Annette Seibold, Florence County health officer. “People with substance use disorders who smoke are much more likely to die from their tobacco use than from their drug or alcohol addiction. More needs to be done to help individuals who experience mental illness quit tobacco.”

The Wisconsin Nicotine Treatment Integration Project, or WiNTiP, has had success on addressing the health disparity. WiNTiP helps behavioral health providers integrate tobacco cessation into the care they provide.

Over the past decade, the program has met with treatment centers throughout Wisconsin and is currently considered a national leader in the effort to treat tobacco addiction alongside mental health or substance use disorder issues. Behavioral health providers looking for more information on integrating cessation into their health system should go to wiquitline.org and click on “Behavioral Health” under “Providers”.

The Northwoods Tobacco Free Coalition encourages all individuals who use tobacco, regardless of mental health status, to call the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-Quit-Now for free help with quitting tobacco.

For further information, contact the Florence County Health Department at 715-528-4837 or stop in the office on the second floor of the courthouse, 501 Lake Ave. in Florence.