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Keywords:

  • smoking;
  • residential rehabilitation;
  • alcohol and substance abuse;
  • The Salvation Army;
  • multiple health behaviour change

Abstract

Introduction and Aims. People attending substance abuse treatment have an elevated risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer. Consequently, there have been increasing calls for substance abuse treatment services to address smoking. The current study examined smoking behaviours of people attending residential substance abuse treatment. Additionally, the study examined rates of other potentially modifiable health risk factors for the development of CVD and cancer.

Design and Methods. A cross-sectional survey was completed by participants attending Australian Salvation Army residential substance abuse treatment services (n = 228). Rates of smoking, exercise, dietary fat intake, body mass index and depression were identified and compared with representative community populations. The relationship between length of treatment and changes in these variables was also examined.

Results. When compared with the Australian population, participants were much more likely to be current smokers. They also showed higher rates of dietary fat intake, and having had a previous diagnosis of a depressive disorder. Encouragingly, participants were more likely to be engaging in regular exercise. Over a third of all smokers reported having increased their smoking since attending the residential program, with correlational analysis suggesting that nicotine dependence was increasing the longer participants were in treatment.

Discussion and Conclusions. People attending substance abuse treatment show extremely high rates of smoking (77%). With the large majority of participants showing multiple risk factors for CVD, it is important that residential services consider strategies to address smoking and the other potentially modifiable health risk factors in an integrated fashion.[Kelly PJ, Baker AL, Deane FP, Kay-Lambkin FJ, Bonevski B, Tregarthen J. Prevalence of smoking and other health risk factors in people attending residential substance abuse treatment. Drug Alcohol Rev 2012;31:638–644]