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Combining Smoking-Cessation and PTSD Treatment Improves Veterans’ Quit Rates


A new study found veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who smoke have an easier time quitting when smoking cessation and PTSD treatment are combined, HealthDay News reported Dec. 7.

Researchers from the US Veterans Affairs (VA) health-care system led by Miles McFall, Ph.D., recruited 943 smokers from 10 VA medical centers and randomly assigned them to either PTSD treatment with referral to a smoking-cessation program or to another program combining both treatments.

At four-year follow-up, patients who received the combined treatment were twice as likely to have quit smoking for at least a year than participants referred separately for smoking treatment (9 percent versus 4.5 percent, respectively).

“Individuals with serious mental illness are dying 25 years prematurely, and the major causes of death are tobacco-related cancer, heart disease, and lung disease,” said Judith Prochaska, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry at the University of California/San Francisco, in an editorial accompanying the study.

The results represented “a major step forward on the path to abating the previously overlooked epidemic of tobacco dependence that has plagued persons with mental illness,” she concluded.

The study was published in the Dec. 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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