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No smoking policies may present challenges to treatment centers
Date:5/5/2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio When a new tobacco-free policy was instituted at an Ohio women's substance abuse treatment center, both smokers and non-smokers were more likely to leave treatment early in the first few months after the policy change, a new study found.

The results don't mean treatment centers shouldn't try smoking bans, according to the researchers, but they do highlight the challenges involved with implementing a new policy that goes against years of conventional thinking.

Researchers found that the number of patients who completed a program at the women's treatment center decreased 28 percentage points from 70 to 42 percent following the center's implementation of a tobacco-free policy.

"Following the implementation of the new policy, clients were significantly less likely to complete treatment than they were prior to the adoption of tobacco-free policies," said Thomas Gregoire, co-author of the study and associate professor of social work at Ohio State University.

This treatment center was the first to go tobacco-free in Ohio, Gregoire said. Tobacco-free treatment facilities began in New Jersey during the 90's and they are now making their way to other parts of the country.

"Despite the growing body of research about the problems of smoking in treatment facilities, the use of tobacco still retains a protected status in the addictions community and is largely untreated," said Gregoire.

The study appears in the current issue of Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions.

Treatment facilities tend to allow patients to smoke because many officials believe that treating a person for smoking in addition to other substance abuse would be too difficult and most likely result in failure, Gregoire said. Treatment centers may also fear that a smoking ban could cause them to lose business.

Many patients use cigarettes as a crutch to help them cope while trying to defeat other ad
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Contact: Thomas Gregoire
Gregoire.5@osu.edu
614-292-9426
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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