Cigarette smoking during substance use disorder treatment: Secondary outcomes from a national drug abuse treatment clinical trials network study

Erin A. McClure, Aimee N.C. Campbell, Martina Pavlicova, Meichen Hu, Theresa Winhusen, Ryan G. Vandrey, Lesia M. Ruglass, Lirio S. Covey, Maxine L. Stitzer, Tiffany L. Kyle, Edward V. Nunes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The majority of patients enrolled in treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs) also use tobacco. Many will continue to use tobacco even during abstinence from other drugs and alcohol, often leading to smoking-related illnesses. Despite this, little research has been conducted to assess the influence of being a smoker on SUD treatment outcomes and changes in smoking during a treatment episode. Methods: In this secondary analysis, cigarette smoking was evaluated in participants completing outpatient SUD treatment as part of a multi-site study conducted by the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network. Analyses included the assessment of changes in smoking and nicotine dependence via the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence during the 12-week study among all smokers (aim #1), specifically among those in the experimental treatment group (aim #2), and the moderating effect of being a smoker on treatment outcomes (aim #3). Results: Participants generally did not reduce or quit smoking throughout the course of the study. Among a sub-set of participants with higher baseline nicotine dependence scores randomized to the control arm, scores at the end of treatment were lower compared to the experimental arm, though measures of smoking quantity did not appear to decrease. Further, being a smoker was associated with poorer treatment outcomes compared to non-smokers enrolled in the trial. Conclusions: This study provides evidence that patients enrolled in community-based SUD treatment continue to smoke, even when abstaining from drugs and alcohol. These results add to the growing literature encouraging the implementation of targeted, evidence-based interventions to promote abstinence from tobacco among SUD treatment patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-46
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Cessation
  • Internet-delivered treatment
  • Smoking
  • Substance use disorders
  • Therapeutic education system
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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