Smoking cessation remains a core clinical goal of this practice. Most of my patients have smoked at some time in their lives. Many continue to smoke and struggle with the cost, image, and health drain it causes. In 2008, 18.1 percent of adults in Colorado smoked. Amongst the 18-24 age group, 25.1 percent smoked. Other important data shows there to be high rates of smoking within the lesbian and gay community (38.4%). Regular smoking is also associated with higher rates of alcoholism and other drugs of abuse.
There are clear implications for long-term sobriety when we consider smoking cessation. When patients are nicotine dependent and craving cigarettes, it is often difficult for them to concentrate during sessions or lectures about recovery. Smoking cessation is often avoided in residential care because patients feel leaving their ‘primary’ drug is enough of a challenge. This traditional concept in rehab is up for debate. Some preliminary work through the Circle Program in Pueblo, Colorado has shown that quitting tobacco during treatment leads to more extended overall sobriety. Work through the University of Colorado also suggests that concentration and IQ scoring is decreased amongst smokers.
Treatment options for smoking cessation usually include nicotine replacement therapy. Examples include the nicotine patch or gum. Review studies have shown that this combination yields the highest rates of successful quit attempts. Another effective medication, Chantix, can be helpful in smoking cessation but carries potential risk of increased suicidal thoughts. It is important to understand the risks and benefits of any medication prescribed. If you are interested in quitting tobacco, a useful resource is the Colorado Quit Line (1800-QUIT-NOW). This is a free service run through National Jewish Hospital. By calling, patients can receive free nicotine patches to help facilitate their quit attempt. I also help patients design a quit attempt through this practice.