Smoking and mental health

ACOSH is working to raise awareness of the issues around mental health and smoking and continues to advocate for the recognition of the importance of addressing smoking and mental health.


Although smoking rates in Australia have been steadily declining in the general population, the rates among people with mental health issues are much higher, and smoking is a significant contributor to the health and financial inequalities experienced by people with mental health issues. 

 The prevalence of smoking among people living with a mental illness, which can significantly reduce life expectancy, is extremely high, and has remained largely unchanged over the last 30 years. ACOSH has worked in partnership with MIFWA to raise awareness of the issues around mental health and smoking.



ACOSH formed a partnership with Joyce Vidot, who manages the National Tobacco and Mental Illness Project in WA. This partnership identified 10 priority areas. For example, the expansion of the PBS scheme to increase NRT access to people living with a mental illness who wish to quit and need additional support (and quit attempts) to successfully do so. ACOSH is working with the project to achieve these priorities and assist in raising awareness around the myths inherent in mental illness and smoking.

Our campaigns

Changing the law

The good news

ACOSH has worked to assist, promote, and support a smoking cessation course for people experiencing mental illness facilitated by MIFWA at the Laurikeet Centre. This smoking cessation course has seen positive results. Attendees have significantly cut down smoking or quit, which has had positive repercussions in reducing their medication and improving their quality of life.

ACOSH has also been progressing a Mental Health Training Package for health professionals. Created in partnership with MIFWA, we continue to develop resources to assist with this training. We’ve raised this issue formally and informally in a number of contexts with relevant Ministers and agencies, and anticipate further positive moves in the area.

Please read the following documents to find out more about mental health and smoking:

The Australian Council on Smoking and Health