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Community Service

Consumers Helping Others Improve their Condition by Ending Smoking

Dr. Williams is the founder and medical director of CHOICES, a consumer driven initiative to outreach smokers with mental illness in the community via mental health peer counselors. To learn more about the CHOICES program, please visit their website at

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Although tobacco use and dependence is very common among people with serious mental illness (SMI) and a leading cause of morbidity and mortality, treatment options are limited, especially for lower motivated smokers who may not be ready for a “quit smoking” treatment.

In collaboration with the NJ Division of Mental Health Services, three partners at Rutgers developed a specialized group treatment intervention for this population entitled Learning about Healthy Living (LAHL). Click here to download the PDF file. Co-authors and contributors included members of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Division of Addiction Psychiatry, University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC), and the School of Public Health-Tobacco Dependence Program. LAHL is a 20 session group treatment approach that is designed for all types of smokers with different mental health problems. The goal of the intervention is to increase individual’s awareness about the risks of tobacco use, treatment options, enhance motivation to address tobacco, and to begin by making other healthy life choices.

LAHL has been in use in mental health treatment programs in New Jersey since 2004. The LAHL treatment approach supports the current focus on wellness and recovery within the mental health field and is being used in mental health sites with great success.

The LAHL manual is now available as a publicly available resource. It is hoped that the dissemination of this valued resource will help more smokers with mental illness across the country.

We request that you please give us feedback about your experiences with the manual. (Feedback can be sent to Dr Jill Williams at If you plan to publish about this experience using the LAHL materials we would ask that you cite the source and contributing authors.

We hope that you will find the materials helpful in your clinical work helping smokers with serious mental illness.

Williams JM, Ziedonis DM, Speelman N, Vreeland B, Zechner M, Rahim R, O’Hea E. Learning about Healthy Living: Tobacco and You Manual. Revised 2012. Supported by a grant from the NJ Division of Mental Health Services.

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Addressing Substance Prevention and Resources for Cessation


The mission of the ASPARC inititative is to provide our New Jersey partners in substance abuse prevention and treatment with the knowledge and tools they require to address tobacco. It is our goal to provide education, tools and resources to help them effectively provide their program staff and clients with information and strategies for youth prevention and opportunities and resources to quit smoking.

This website also  contains numerous links and resources on Youth Tobacco Prevention.  The Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Division of Addiction Psychiatry can deliver coordinated training and technical assistance to the regionally-based NJ prevention coalitions, their stakeholders, partners, and staff. The goal is to help prevention coalitions increase the capacity for prevention of tobacco use as part of their work in reducing the harms from substance use.