On February 14, 2013 CeDAR transitioned to being a TOBACCO-FREE treatment center.
The evidence for our decision is clear and irrefutable. Tobacco use accounts for the premature deaths of 443,000 persons annually in the United States, with an additional 8.6 million disabled from tobacco-related diseases. Exposure to second hand smoke results in an estimated 3,000 deaths due to lung cancer in nonsmokers, 46,000 deaths due to heart disease in nonsmokers, 150,000 – 300,000 lower respiratory infections in infants and toddlers. Our transition to being a tobacco-free treatment center reduces patient exposure to the deadly effects of tobacco, as well as reduced nonsmoking patient, visitor, and staff exposure to secondhand smoke.
Nicotine is one of the most highly addictive substances. Our goal is to promote positive health behaviors and help reduce nicotine addiction. Allowing individuals to continue to use the maladaptive and unhealthy coping skill of tobacco during treatment robs them of the opportunity to learn and incorporate healthy coping skills. Also, exposure to tobacco-using patients increases the rate of relapse to tobacco use in recovered patients. Our transition to being a tobacco-free treatment center has provided patients with increased confidence in their ability to lead a tobacco-free life following discharge from our treatment center. Our transition is also preventing the initiation of tobacco use or relapse to tobacco use as a maladaptive coping skill during treatment. Since CeDAR has transitioned to being a tobacco-free facility, our rates of patient relapse to tobacco use have plummeted and the rates of patients and staff in recovery from tobacco who are triggered by tobacco use has also plummeted.
Studies show most smokers want to quit and they can quit. Nearly 80% of persons with a substance use or co-occurring mental health disorder intend to quit -- the majority within the next month. Although many patients want to stop using tobacco, they are not confident they can. CeDAR wants to help those who do use tobacco products gain that confidence while here for their addictions treatment. We know nicotine dependence is a chronic, relapsing disorder often requiring multiple attempts before individuals quit for good. We also know proven treatments that significantly enhance quitting tobacco use do exist. In working with clients that smoke or use other tobacco products, CeDAR will first assess their stage of change. Individuals who are not interested in quitting tobacco will be offered nicotine replacement products to prevent symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Individuals who express a desire to cut-down or stop their tobacco use will be offered a combination of individual and group counseling sessions as part of our regular treatment program, along with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved smoking cessation medications, including nicotine replacement products (patches, gum and lozenges), Buproprion SR (Wellbutrin, Zyban) and Varenicline (Chantix). Patients are consistently surprised at their strength and ability to be tobacco-free. Since CeDAR has transitioned to being a tobacco-free facility, the tobacco quit rate for our patients at discharge is 9 times higher than it was prior to our transition.
Quitting tobacco use during addictions treatment enhances rather than compromises long-term sobriety. Traditionally, patients and care-providers have been concerned that asking a patient to give everything up at once would be too hard, distract attention from the primary addiction, or result in relapse. However, research indicates smoking and other tobacco use cessation interventions provided during addictions treatment are associated with a 25% increased likelihood of long-term abstinence from alcohol and illicit drugs. We believe that the absence of tobacco use increases the opportunity to practice recovery behaviors in a real-time setting. This further strengthens the treatment of the primary substance use disorder, rather than distracting from it.
We believe that our tobacco-free transition more effectively aligns our daily treatment program with not only our goal to give each patient we work with the greatest chance at success in recovery, but also our Mission to "save and improve lives."