Smoking during addiction treatment: a growing problem

Smoking during addiction treatment: a growing problem

Addiction treatment patients continue to have higher rates of cigarette use than the rest of the general population in the entire world, in spite of the growing global awareness about the dangers of smoking. Thus, a recent study sought to explain why nicotine use is often overlooked in substance use disorder treatment facilities.

Dubbed ‘Smoking among patients in substance use disorders treatment: associations with tobacco advertising, anti-tobacco messages, and perceived health risks,’ the study was published in the penultimate issue of the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse and led by Barbara K. Campbell, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and associate professor at Oregon Health & Science University. “It’s helpful for people to know that smoking is a serious problem among those with substance use disorders,” she said. “Rather than ignoring smoking and just focusing on other drug use, addressing smoking may improve people’s health and facilitate their recovery from other drugs.”

Campbell explained that she conducted the study after learning that the smoking rates among individuals receiving treatment for different substance use disorders continue to be high, despite significant international and national declines in nicotine use — in the U.S., 40 percent of the population smoked in 1965 and only 17.8 reported smoking by 2013.

“Although smoking rates have declined substantially in the general population, they remain very high among people with other addictions,” she said. “This increases disease burden and mortality and may contribute to difficulty maintaining abstinence from other drugs.”

The researchers analyzed a total of 1,113 patients from 24 adult addiction treatment programs — seven outpatient clinics, seven methadone maintenance, and 10 residential — that were publicly funded and chosen randomly from the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network. Each clinic received a $2,000 compensation for participating in the study and allowing researchers to recruit between 28 and 53 patients at their facilities.

The participants, who were enrolled in treatment for at least 10 days, answered surveys that included questions about smoking, tobacco awareness, perceived health risks, and advertising exposure and receptivity.

The patients who were regularly exposed to tobacco advertising were 1.41 times more likely to smoke. Those who claimed to be highly interested in the ads were more than two times more inclined to smoke than the rest.

Among the 1,113 participants, 159 (14.3 percent) said that they smoked in the past and 87 (7.8 percent) said that they never smoked. But an alarming 867 (77.9 percent) of them reported smoking an average of 10 cigarettes a day.

Further analysis showed that the chances of using nicotine were higher among people who used… (continue reading)