Doing Justice with Smoking Cessation

“People with substance use disorder (SUD) smoke cigarettes at a rate more than twice that of the general population.”

– (Saloner et al., 2023)

Anna Phillips, Ph.D., LMFT
Anna Phillips, Chief Program Officer

Cigarette smoking has decreased by 9% over the last decade (Saloner et al, 2023). One group of consumers, however, has not been adequately supported to quit smoking, according to Saloner et al. (2023). When Saloner et al (2023) wrote their article, there were more than 5 million people in the United States involved in the criminal justice system, including 1.90 million in custody placement. Within the criminal legal population however, cigarette use has not decreased significantly, and it is possible that their consumption has increased. Read More

As a result of inadequate access and opportunity to participate in smoking cessation services, their results showed that cigarettes were not used less. The study found that those involved in criminal justice were more likely to rely on cigarettes as a coping mechanism for their stress, and without appropriate services such as smoking cessation, they remained trapped in their smoking habit. 

Over 90% of Horizon Services clients have been or are currently involved in the criminal justice system, so addressing cigarette use is just as imperative as meeting their substance use disorder (SUD) needs. To support clients, Horizon focuses its efforts on educating them about the harms of smoking and how to quit. In addition, the agency has created policies that limit access to cigarettes. However, there is still more work to be done. Horizon is working to make all campuses “smoke-free.” Currently, all residential programs are “smoke free,” but there is still room to improve all service lines to be “smoke free” zones. As an agency, Horizon continues to enhance its policies and procedures in order to ensure that all clients at all programs will have access to nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), such as our Chrysalis, Cronin, and Cherry Hill Detox programs who are leading the way. Additionally, we believe that no less than 80% of Horizon’s site staff should be adequately trained in smoking cessation therapy in order to provide group and individual counseling to all clients as a component of their treatment programming. Because Horizon is committed to providing evidence-based SUD treatment and support to help clients lead healthier lives, the agency believes that it is important to maximize access to NRT across all programs, especially given the insights drawn from this though-provoking feature article.


For more, see the Featured analysis article in Health Affairs Magazine