The percentage of substance abuse treatment facilities offering nicotine replacement therapy to clients gradually increased by about 6 percentage points from 2006 to 2009, according to a new Spotlight report issued by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released in conjunction with the “Great American Smokeout.” The report showed that in 2009, 2,613 (19 percent) of 13,513 facilities surveyed were offering nicotine replacement therapy – up from 13 percent in 2006.
Tobacco use remains the single most preventable cause of death – causing about 440,000 deaths per year in the United States. Almost half of these deaths occur among people with mental and substance use disorders.
According to the Spotlight report, nicotine replacement therapy including patches, gum and lozenges is a safe and effective way of promoting smoking cessation. The report noted that smokers who use nicotine replacement therapy are twice as likely as nonusers to quit smoking.
“The report shows that substance abuse programs are increasingly recognizing the need to address nicotine addiction as part of treating the whole person. Including nicotine replacement therapy as part of addiction treatment can make a life-saving difference to people who are also often addicted to tobacco and tobacco products," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “These efforts are critically important because individuals in substance abuse treatment are more likely to smoke cigarettes than the general population. By helping individuals in treatment say no to cigarettes – we are helping them to take an important step towards a healthier, more productive life.”
The study provided details on what type of treatment facilities were more likely to offer smoking cessation services. Hospital inpatient facilities were much more likely than residential or outpatient facilities to provide nicotine replacement therapies (ranging from 79 percent of hospitals to only16 percent of outpatient programs).
In light of this report, SAMHSA encourages all substance abuse treatment facilities to observe the 35th Great American Smokeout on November 18 by instituting their own plans to help smokers quit smoking. (The American Cancer Society sponsors the annual event)
The SAMHSA Data Spotlight was developed as part of the agency’s strategic initiative on data, outcomes, and quality—an effort to inform policymakers and service providers on the nature and scope of behavioral health issues. It is based on SAMHSA’s National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (NSSATS).
The full report is available on line at http://oas.samhsa.gov/spotlight/Spotlight010Nicotine.pdf