Smoking is the number one cause of preventable disease and death worldwide. A review of research studies from 20 countries other than the United States has revealed that people who are treated for addiction are far more likely to smoke.
The research team found that people in addiction treatment programs around the world use tobacco at two to three times the rate of people who are not being treated for addiction.
UC San Francisco's Joseph R. Guydish said, "When people come into treatment for drugs and alcohol, they are not treating another addiction that has a significant chance of eventually killing them, which is tobacco use. At a public health level, this means that the addiction treatment efforts should address smoking and tobacco use better than they do now. Every person who enters substance abuse treatment ought to have their tobacco use evaluated and treated. If they don't want to be treated and quit right away, they should have some education to help them think more about quitting."
Guydish further added, "There are data from a number of studies which strongly suggest that you can improve substance treatment outcomes by addressing smoking among the patients in treatment. That's what we should be doing. The World Health Organization (WHO) has created a policy package called MPOWER, which is designed to assist countries in implementing anti-smoking initiatives. We would recommend that WHO pay attention to this finding and use it to extend their MPOWER strategies. Anyone who is interested in smoking reduction internationally could use this information at the policy level."
The study is published in Addiction.