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People in addiction treatment more likely to smoke

New York: People undergoing treatment for drugs and alcohol addiction around the world use tobacco at two to three times the rate of people who are not being treated for addiction, finds a 20-country study.

The findings suggest that substance abuse programmes do not sufficiently address tobacco use issues.

“When people come into treatment for drugs and alcohol, we are not treating another addiction that has a significant chance of eventually killing them, which is tobacco use,” said lead researcher Joseph Guydish, professor at the University of California, San Francisco, US.

“At a public health level, this means that our addiction treatment efforts should address smoking and tobacco use better than they do now,” Guydish noted.

The team reviewed 54 studies, involving a total of 37,364 participants in 20 countries, which were published in English from 1987 to 2013.

They found that among people in treatment for drug and alcohol use, the overall rate of smoking was 84 percent, compared with a rate of 31 percent for members of the general population.

“Every person who enters substance abuse treatment ought to have their tobacco use evaluated and treated,” Guydish said.

“If they do not want to be treated and quit right away, they should have some education to help them think more about quitting,” Guydish noted.

The findings appeared in the journal Addiction.