Cigarette Smoking Rising Among Americans With Substance Use Disorders

Cigarette Smoking | Just Believe Recovery

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Cigarette Smoking Rising Among Americans With Substance Use Disorders

Cigarette smoking has declined significantly in the United States in the past few decades, and yet the prevalence of smoking has spiked among those with illicit substance use disorders since 2002, according to a new study.

Moreover, the odds of smoking cigarettes for Americans with a substance use disorder (SUD) is more than five-fold greater than the rest of the population – more than half of those with a SUD (56%) reported smoking cigarettes in the past month, compared to just 18% of people without a SUD.

The data reveals that smoking rates have risen among those related to several SUDs, including cocaine, heroin, painkillers, stimulants, and tranquilizers, among others. Smoking has decreased, however, among those with a cannabis use disorder (CUD) and when these subjects were excluded, the smoking rate for individuals with SUDs increased to 64%.

For the study, researchers examined data from more than 725,000 Americans age 12 and older in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health for 2002- 2014.

Renee Goodwin, Ph.D., per Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the City University of New York:

“Given the extremely elevated rates of smoking among persons with substance use disorders, it seems that neither population-based tobacco control efforts nor clinical smoking cessation strategies have reached or been as effective among persons with substance use disorders.”

She said that more strategies are needed to help those with SUDs and decrease the smoking rate of “this vulnerable group of individuals,” and also noted that although more addiction treatment programs are offering smoking cessation services, how exactly these programs can integrate treatment for smoking most effectively is still unknown.

The CDC reported in 2015 that the percentage of adult Americans who smoke cigarettes fell from nearly 21% to 17.8% between 2005-2014. In the past 50 years, the overall smoking rate for persons in the U.S. has fallen by half.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology


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