Smoking Ban Is Proposed in Drug Centers

New York would become the first state requiring all addiction treatment programs to help their clients quit smoking under a proposed rule to be announced today.

Pointing to the high number of tobacco-related deaths among former addicts, the state’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Service said that by July 24 of next year, all facilities treating drug or alcohol addiction would have to have programs in place to encourage clients to stop smoking. Under the plan, all treatment centers would have to be smoke-free, and staff members would also have to abide by the ban.

Treatment for nicotine addiction, including drugs to relieve cravings, would have to be offered to all patients, and provided free to those without insurance. Patients who refuse to quit smoking could still be treated for other addictions, but they would not be allowed to smoke at the treatment centers.

New Jersey has required residential addiction programs to treat nicotine addiction and be smoke-free since 2001, but officials in New York say it would be the first state to require smoking cessation efforts in outpatient programs, which account for two-thirds of the 1,100 treatment programs in the state. Programs in New York that failed to comply with the smoking regulations could lose state certification and would have to stop treating clients.

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