One of the things you learn in business school is the importance of using the concept of a “target market” as a core of your business marketing plan. That’s what we do when it comes to tobacco cessation. We examine our tobacco surveillance data and look at demographic patterns for target populations and look for the leverage points to develop our interventions. Since 50% of tobacco products are purchased by folks with a mental illness and/or chronic disease- this demographic is a key focus of our tobacco prevention strategies.
We’ve been working hard for the last 3 years to make inroads into this target population with some pretty good success. Our folks in the Division of Behavioral health and our Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease and ASHLine have trained clinical behavioral health staff on how to get folks into smoking cessation (quit) services- establishing systemic change within the behavioral health system for cessation services- moving Arizona toward being tobacco free. This involves assessing every single patient at every single visit in our behavioral health system for tobacco use and providing them the opportunity to be referred for tobacco cessation coaching. Since our initial efforts 3 years ago- ASHLine referrals from behavioral health locations have skyrocketed.
The ASHLine referral development team is focusing training new nurse practitioners at Magellan’s Integrated Home Health on ASHLine Ask, Advice, Refer protocol & nicotine replacement therapy prescription guidelines. Additionally, our Tobacco and Chronic Disease team submitted a manuscript to the CDC’s online journal Preventing Chronic Disease which describes the success of our interventions and illustrating how the behavioral health population is using cessation services and quitting tobacco at the same rate as the general population.