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Smokers Addicted to Stimulants Can Quit Smoking Without Impacting Treatment

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A new study finds smokers who are addicted to methamphetamine or cocaine can stop smoking while they are being treated for their addiction to stimulants, without adversely impacting their addiction treatment.

A previous government study found 63 percent of people with a substance use disorder in the past year also reported current tobacco use. While tobacco use causes more deaths among patients in substance abuse treatment than the substance that brought them to treatment, most substance treatment programs do not address 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.”

The study included patients dependent on cocaine and/or methamphetamine who were in substance abuse treatment, ScienceBlog reports. Some patients were randomly assigned to also receive smoking cessation treatment, which included weekly counseling sessions and extended-release bupropion. Patients also received a nicotine inhaler and prizes meant to encourage smoking cessation.

The study found smoking cessation therapy significantly increased smoking quit rates, both during treatment and afterwards, without negatively impacting participation in treatment for stimulant addiction.

The results are published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

“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.

1 Response to this article

  1. Fr. Jack Kearney / December 11, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    This is great news! Should be a lesson to those who want to simply ban smoking in treatment centers instead of offering treatment.
    The success rate could have been much, much higher had they offered more options to patients such as electronic cigarettes. We’re seeing 50-70% success rates in treatment centers that allow them.

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