Industry Problem

Tobacco use is one of the most powerful and destructive among all addictions in our society, and the number one preventable killer of human beings in the developed world. Tobacco is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths in North America: more than car accidents, suicides, illicit drug abuse, murder and AIDS combined.

Many people want to quit smoking and realize they cannot...they depend on their smoking as a way to get through the day. For these people, tobacco IS an addiction. Tobacco addiction does not just affect one’s lifespan: it affects every aspect of an individual’s life; from personal to familial to professional. Anyone who has watched a loved one suffer from tobacco-related illnesses, or who has suffered from these illnesses themselves, is well aware of the years or even lifetimes of pain, suffering and destruction that they cause. The societal, financial and cultural costs of tobacco are inestimable.

Despite the widely recognized negative realities surrounding tobacco use, most health services professionals are simply unaware of how to help. What do you say? What should you recommend? What works and what doesn’t?

Within the Addictions and Behavioural Health context, tobacco use is the elephant in the room. Despite the fact that its use is widespread amongst those seeking treatment as well as amongst treatment facilitators, the majority of addiction and behavioural health facilities choose to ignore tobacco addiction altogether.

Those who seek addictions treatment sacrifice weeks and months of their lives, as well as many thousands of dollars, in order to become addiction-free. Yet the majority of the people leaving addiction treatment leave smoking, an addiction which is not only deadly in its own right, but heightens the risk of relapse to other addictive substances and behaviors. It has been shown that taking a more comprehensive, all-addictions approach (including tobacco) to treatment leads to higher no-relapse rates.