Substance Use Disorder Counselors' Reports of Tobacco Cessation Services Availability, Implementation, and Tobacco-related Knowledge

J Adolesc Health. 2015 Sep;57(3):327-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.06.001.


Purpose: Adolescence is a prime developmental stage for early tobacco cessation (TC) intervention. This study examined substance use disorder counselors' reports of the availability and implementation of TC services (behavioral treatments and pharmacotherapies) in their treatment programs and the relationship between their tobacco-related knowledge and implementation of TC services.

Methods: Survey data were collected in 2012 from 63 counselors working in 22 adolescent-only treatment programs. Measures included 15 TC behavioral treatments, nine TC pharmacotherapies, and three tobacco-related knowledge scales (morbidity/mortality, modalities and effectiveness, pharmacology).

Results: First, nine of the 15 behavioral treatments are reported as being available by more than half of counselors; four of the 15 behavioral treatments are used by counselors with more than half of adolescents. Of the nine pharmacotherapies, availability of the nicotine patch is reported by almost 40%, buproprion by nearly 30%, and clonidine by about 21% of counselors. Pharmacotherapies are used by counselors with very few adolescents. Second, counselors' tobacco-related knowledge varies based on the knowledge scale examined. Third, we only find a significant positive relationship between counselors' implementation of TC behavioral treatments and TC modalities and effectiveness knowledge.

Discussion: Findings suggest that more behavioral treatments should be made available in substance use disorder treatment programs considering that they are the main treatment recommendation for adolescents. Counselors should be encouraged to routinely use a wide range of available behavioral treatments. Finally, counselors should be encouraged to expand their knowledge of TC modalities and effectiveness because of the relationship with behavioral treatments implementation.

Keywords: Addiction counselors; Addiction treatment; Adolescent smoking cessation; Substance abuse treatment; Treatment adoption and implementation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Adult
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Plan Implementation / organization & administration*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sampling Studies
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Tobacco Use Cessation / methods*