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December 28, 2018

Philly bans tobacco use at addiction treatment programs

Addiction Smoking
Ash_Tray_Cigarette Ali Yahya/Unsplash

Smoking will no longer be permitted at the 80 inpatient addiction treatment programs under contract with Philadelphia beginning next year, the city announced on Friday.

The city banned all tobacco use at the facilities, which have contracts with the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services' Community Behavioral Health division.

The contractually-mandated policy change affects nine detox facilities, 32 short-term rehabilitation programs, 31 long-term rehab programs and eight halfway houses.

The programs will offer medication and counseling to manage nicotine withdrawal to any tobacco users, including e-cigarette users, who are admitted to the facilities for substance use treatment. 

Staffers and visitors will be prohibited from smoking or bringing tobacco products onto the premises.

City officials cited pointed to research that shows people with an addiction to drugs or alcohol are more likely to die from a smoking-related illness than from other substances they are consuming.

“Providing substance use treatment in a smoke-free environment will not only help us to improve addiction recovery outcomes for people, it will also help us to improve their overall health outcomes – consistent with our population health approach to delivering behavioral health services in Philadelphia,” Behavioral Health Commissioner David T. Jones said in a statement.

Smoking-related conditions cause 49 percent of deaths among people with alcohol addictions, according to statistics released by the city. Among cocaine and opioid users, smoking-related conditions cause about 40 percent of deaths.

People with substance use disorders smoke as much as three times the rate of the general population. They are dying 25 years earlier than the general population – primarily due to smoking-related diseases impacting the heart and lungs.

Additionally, people who quit smoking while in recovery increase their longterm abstinence rates by 25 percent. Those who continue to smoke after addiction treatment increase their chances of relapse.

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