Smoking Rates Among Adolescents in Substance Abuse Treatment Programs

Published in: Psychiatric Services, v. 58, No. 12, Dec. 2007, p. 1528

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2006

by Beth Ann Griffin, Rajeev Ramchand, Katherine M. Harris, Daniel F. McCaffrey, Andrew R. Morral

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Substance abuse treatment programs often do not target smoking, despite its long-term health risks. No systematic analyses have established an association between smoking and recovery from drug and alcohol problems after drug treatment for adolescents. The authors examined smoking rates by recovery status among youths admitted to one of ten treatment programs participating in the Adolescent Treatment Models evaluation between 1998 and 2001. Youths were followed for 12 months. Smoking behaviors were measured at intake and 12 months. Recovery status was measured at 12 months. The authors compared these rates between youths who were or were not in recovery at the follow-up, where recovery was defined as having no recent substance use, no history of symptoms related to a substance use disorder in the past month, and no recent stays in jails or detention centers. In univariate analyses, adolescents who recovered had significantly lower median rates of smoking at the followup than youths who did not recover. Their findings suggest that adolescents who recover from substance problems are not at greater risk of smoking escalation, compared with those who did not seem to benefit from treatment.

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