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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Quitting Smoking Impact On Addiction Treatment

There are two schools of thought about smoking cigarettes while in addiction treatment programs. One that says the patient should quit all harmful substances, the other that says that the focus should be primarily on the more harmful substances with quitting smoking being preferable but secondary as it may cause unnecessary stress.

New research has shown that smokers who are addicted to methamphetamine or cocaine can stop smoking while in treatment for their addiction to stimulants, without impacting their treatment.

63 percent of people with a substance use disorder in the past year also reported current tobacco use, according to SAMHSA. Tobacco is responsible for more deaths among patients in substance abuse treatment than the drug of choice that brought them to treatment in the first place, yet most treatment programs fail to promote smoking cessation, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“Substance abuse treatment programs have historically been hesitant to incorporate concurrent smoking cessation therapies with standard drug addiction treatment because of the concern that patients would drop out of treatment entirely,” Dr. Nora D. Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said in a news release. “However, treating their tobacco addiction may not only reduce the negative health consequences associated with smoking, but could also potentially improve substance use disorder treatment outcomes.”

Smoking cessation therapy significantly increased quit rates, without negatively impacting participation in treatment for stimulant addiction.

“These findings, coupled with past research, should reassure clinicians that providing smoking-cessation treatment in conjunction with treatment for other substance use disorders will be beneficial to their patients,” said study author Dr. Theresa Winhusen of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.  

The results are published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

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