Psychological stress is a broad term that can describe the stress one feels if they suffer from a mental illness or are undergoing any mentally taxing experience like recovering from a car accident, losing a loved one, or having a hard time making ends meet. According to the 2016 Boone County Health Rankings, over 2,200 people in Boone County reported one or more poor mental health day in the last month. Healthcare providers would often overlook treating nicotine addiction in this population because of the misconception that treating nicotine addiction complicates substance abuse or mental health treatment. Trends from 1997 to 2015 found that people experiencing high psychological distress are smoking fewer cigarettes and more likely to try to quit compared to those with less stress.
This study suggests that there is a big gap between people experiencing large amounts of stress and their healthcare providers. These people are willing to quit but their needs are not being met by those that can help them most. Treating nicotine addiction alongside other addictions or mental health problems has been shown to improve patient outcomes overall.