Southwestern is committed to supporting clients who are ready to overcome their addiction to nicotine using an evidence-based “5A Model” of intervention:
- Ask every client about their tobacco use
- Advise clients about the importance of stopping
- Assess clients’ readiness to change
- Assist with recovery attempts through care coordination
- Arrange for follow-up contacts during their post-cessation recovery period
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death globally, and used more prevalently by individuals with mental illness. Southwestern has chosen to take extra steps to incorporate support for our clients because extensive research has demonstrated that adults with mental illness die earlier than the general population; most commonly from diseases strongly correlated with tobacco use, like heart disease, cancer, and lung disease. Additionally, nicotine has mood-altering effects that can mask symptoms of mental illness, ultimately predisposing those affected to an increased likelihood of use and addiction. And finally, tobacco smoke can interact with and inhibit the effectiveness of certain medications to the extent that higher doses may be required than what would have otherwise been recommended for non-smoking clients.