Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Smoking Ban to Take Effect at Substance Abuse and Mental Health Facilities

SALT LAKE CITY - In a press conference today, the Utah Departments of Health (UDOH) and Human Services (DHS) reported that by July 1, 2012, more than 150 publicly-funded substance abuse and mental health facilities across Utah will have implemented a tobacco-free environment campus policy. The facilities will also be offering tobacco cessation treatments for their clients as a part of the Recovery Plus Wellness Initiative.

Dr. Robert Rolfs, Deputy Director, Utah Department of Health, said that research supports concurrent treatment for substance abuse and tobacco cessation.

“Studies show that substance abuse patients who also smoke can increase their rate of recovery by up to 25 percent when they receive treatment for both addictions simultaneously,” Rolfs said.

Clients have also found the programs useful in their recovery.

“I was able to incorporate the same principles I was using to stop using drugs and alcohol, said Danielle, a client at the House of Hope. “I used those same principles, techniques, and tools in not smoking. It was a combination effect; if I was going to quit, I was going to quit everything.”

According to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, people with mental illness die 25 years earlier on average than the general population, largely due to conditions caused or worsened by smoking.

“We know that tobacco use for residents of Utah suffering from mental illness or substance abuse is much higher than for the general population in Utah,” said Palmer DePaulis, Executive Director, Utah Department of Human Services. “With these facilities going 100% tobacco-free and treating tobacco use, substance abuse and mental health providers can save lives.” 

Recovery Plus was created in response to an urgent need for guidelines for creating a tobacco-free campus policy. Integrating tobacco cessation with current treatment protocols will increase recovery rates and life expectancy for individuals with substance abuse issues and/or mental illnesses.  It’s estimated that nearly 17,000 tobacco users will benefit from the cessation programs.

For more information, visit www.RecoveryPlus.Utah.Gov.  For free help quitting tobacco, call the Utah Tobacco Quit Line at 1.800.QUIT.NOW or visit

Media Contact:
Amy Oliver
Media Coordinator
Tobacco Prevention and Control Program
(o) 801-538-6917 (c) 801-783-9067