South Central Wisconsin Tobacco Free Coalition hosted David Macmaster to speak to Juneau County residents at Mauston High school on Nov. 6. Macmaster is the cofounder of the Wisconsin Nicotine Treatment Integration Project, also known as WiNTiP.
Macmaster emphasized that tobacco addiction should be approached and treated like other harmful substance addictions, such as alcohol or drugs.
“There still isn’t any significant training in tobacco addiction,” Macmaster said.
Macmaster said that there is Alcoholics Anonymous for alcohol addiction and similar support programs for drug addiction, but those suffering from tobacco addiction have historically been left out. This can be counterproductive.
“I’ve had several people over the years who started smoking when they went to treatment for alcohol and drug abuse,” Macmaster said.
Macmaster’s presentation noted that tobacco addiction can be especially prevalent among individuals who are “African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian American/Pacific Islander/Hawaiian, LGBT, low socio-economic status, (and) adults with mental health and substance use disorders.”
According to materials provided at the event, in 2014 there were 7,356 tobacco related deaths in Wisconsin. Which was higher than the 1,529 alcohol related deaths and the 873 drug related deaths. By those figures, tobacco related deaths would account for 75.38 percent of the total substance abuse deaths in Wisconsin for 2014.
The presentation also reported that more than 75 percent of individuals in treatment for substance use disorders smoke, and that when individuals quit tobacco and other substances at the same time, they are 25 percent more likely to stay off both.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that in Wisconsin, the percentage of adults who smoke cigarettes is 20.9 percent. But…