Integrating smoking cessation into substance use disorder treatment for military veterans: measurement and treatment engagement efforts.Addict Behav. 2014 Feb; 39(2):439-44.AB
Military personnel and veterans smoke at higher rates than the general population, compromising physical performance readiness and health (Committee on Smoking Cessation in Military and Veteran Populations & Institute of Medicine, 2009). While efforts are being made within both the Department of Defense and the Veterans' Administration (VA) hospitals to prevent onset, change the smoking culture, and promote smoking cessation; smoking rates are increasing among combat deployed service members, and smoking rates are particularly high among veterans with mental health and other substance use disorders (McFall, 2006). Recent research supports making smoking cessation widely available and integrated with other forms of care (Gierisch et al., 2012; McFall et al., 2010). This paper describes the efforts of one VA substance use disorder (SUD) treatment program to integrate smoking cessation in routine care, including assessment of tobacco use and motivation and intention to quit via the proposed Nic-BAM assessment. Our team was 100% successful in incorporating the Nic-BAM into our regular assessment of treatment program participants. This suggests that staff members are amenable to assessing for tobacco addiction alongside other substance addictions. Although smoking did not decrease according to the Nic-BAM, an increase in the use of nicotine-replacement products suggests that participants are willing to initiate a quit attempt during SUD treatment. The availability of new evidence-based approaches for integration of tobacco cessation with mental health and SUD treatment may help to enhance programmatic efforts. Environmental changes are needed to fully incorporate tobacco recovery into SUD programming, and additional resources may include peer support specialists.