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Kicking smoking and other substances too

November 18, 2010|By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
  • Smoking-cessation therapies are not typically offered to people in substance-abuse treatment centers.
Smoking-cessation therapies are not typically offered to people in substance-abuse… (Spencer Platt / Getty Images )

Is the Great American Smokeout relevant to people who are already trying to kick another addiction? Yes, say some experts. In a report released Thursday, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration encouraged smoking-cessation support for people who are in drug and alcohol rehab.

The report shows that more substance abuse treatment facilities are offering nicotine-replacement therapy to clients. Whether to address smoking in treatment centers has long been a thorny question. Some therapists feel their clients have enough on their plate trying to recover from a drug addition without having to tackle nicotine addiction too. Others think it's impossible to ignore the effect smoking has on a person's health.

While only 13% of treatment centers said they offered nicotine-replacement therapy to clients in 2006, that number grew to 19% last year. Hospital-based treatment programs were far more likely to provide such therapy -- 79% said they offered it -- compared with residential facilities (28%) and outpatient programs (16%). People who use nicotine-replacement therapy are twice as likely as nonusers to stop smoking.

People undergoing substance-abuse treatment are more likely to smoke than individuals in the general population. Some even take up smoking while in rehab.

"By helping individuals in treatment say no to cigarettes -- we are helping them to take an important step towards a healthier, more product life," Pamela S. Hyde, administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, said in a news release.

Related: More people are heeding the message of the Great American Smokeout

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