Tobacco addiction is a major public health problem, which can compound the complexities of Substance Use Disorder (SUD). Treating substance use disorder (SUD) and nicotine addiction concurrently, though, is possible. – and quitting smoking actually has a positive impact on the chance for long-term recovery for SUD.
Cigarette smoking in the U.S.
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of disability and death in the United States, responsible for one in five deaths in the country. Cigarette smoking is more common among people aged 25-44 years old.[i]
E-cigarettes risks for younger people
E-cigarettes are particularly popular between adolescents and young adults, posing a significant risk because nicotine can harm the developing brain, causing attention, learning, mood, and impulse control issues. E-cig use in youth has also been associated with an increased risk for future addiction to other drugs and tobacco products.[ii]
A 2018 study examined the association of depressive symptoms with the onset of e-cigarette use in adolescents. The researchers found that higher depressive symptoms were associated with both cigarette and e-cigarette use onset. Additionally, sustained use of e-cigarettes increased depression symptoms over time.[iii]
SUD and nicotine addiction
Quitting smoking increases the changes for long-term recovery. Similarly, continued smoking following SUD treatment increases the likelihood of a return-to-use (relapse)[iv], and the heaviest smokers are actually the most likely to relapse.[v] Unfortunately, many SUD treatment facilities do not offer smoking cessation as part of their programs. Both counseling and medication can be effective in treating nicotine addiction, and luckily, both of these can be implemented even after discharge from SUD inpatient treatment.
How can CHESS HEALTH help?
CHESS HEALTH offers evidence-based technology and 24/7 peer support for those in recovery from SUD. We recently introduced a program to support smoking cessation. Individuals using the Connections app from CHESS can find information on peer discussion groups and virtual meetings to support their efforts.
[iii] Lechner WV, Janssen T, Kahler CW, Audrain-McGovern J, Leventhal AM. Bi-directional associations of electronic and combustible cigarette use onset patterns with depressive symptoms in adolescents