Did you know that almost half (44%) of the cigarettes smoked in the United States are smoked by people with a psychiatric disorder? It makes it true with a flip of a coin to say that "you have to be nuts or an addict to smoke".
There are a lot of myths in the behavioral health field about why providers can't or shouldn't address their patient's smoking. While every patient and situation is different, these myths are not born out upon further investigation.
The clinical practice guideline for treating nicotine dependence promulgated by the U.S. Public Health Serice asks health care providers to routinely use the 5 "A"s in their patient encounters: Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, and Arrange.
There are many treatment options available these days including nicotine replacement therapy, NRT, antidepressants, behavioral counseling, motivational interviewing, group support, and patient education.
430,000 Americans die every year from tobacco related illnesses. Successful behavioral health treatment that results in a patient dying from tobacco induced heart attack, or cancer reminds me of the old cynical saying that "The surgery was a success, but the patient died."
Use the five "A"s with your patients from now on. You may save lives.