Vermont will join dozens of other states that have adopted tobacco-free policies at state-funded addiction treatment centers, the Associated Press reports.
“People say, ‘Oh gosh, this poor guy is giving up alcohol and drugs ? you expect him to give up cigarettes, too?’ Yet we know from a health perspective, this is the thing to do,” said Barbara Cimaglio, deputy health commissioner in charge of Vermont’s alcohol and drug abuse prevention program.
Kurt White, director of ambulatory services at the Brattleboro Retreat, a private psychiatric hospital that takes some patients under contract with the state, says tobacco use is much more common among people with substance abuse and mental health problems than among the general population. “There’s a growing body of evidence that people do better with both their addictions and smoking cessation if they quit everything at once,” he told the AP. Often there are “paired associations,” he added. “That drink of alcohol might have gone with a cigarette. The cigarette might have been a cue to drinking.”
Cimaglio said smoking used to be acceptable in many settings, from hospitals to newsrooms. Substance abuse and mental health treatment programs are “sort of the last place where we haven’t changed the culture,’’ she said. ‘‘And there’s really no reason we shouldn’t do better.”