Study Examines Relationship Between Smoking and PTSD Among WTC Responders

A study published in the journal Comprehensive Psychiatry looks at the relationship between PTSD symptoms and smoking among World Trade Center (WTC) responders. Responders and 9/11 advocates continue to fight for reauthorization of the Zadroga Act, which will expire completely in October 2016.

Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm that has spent many years fighting to ensure that the heroes of the 9/11 terrorist attacks are never forgotten, is commenting on a recent study involving the health of World Trade Center (WTC) responders. The journal Comprehensive Psychiatry recently published a study involving post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and smoking among responders. Overall, researchers found that “PTSD symptoms may be differentially related to smoking behavior among police and non-traditional WTC responders in a naturalistic, longitudinal investigation. Future work may benefit from exploring further which aspects of PTSD (as compared to each other and to common variance) explain smoking maintenance.”

The study involved 763 police officers and 1881 non-traditional responders, such as construction workers. All of the participants reported being smokers during initial assessment, which took place between July 2002 and July 2011. On average, the individuals were reassessed after 2.5 years. The authors found that the severity of WTC-related PTSD symptoms at initial assessment decreased the chances of smoking abstinence and smoking reduction among police responders at follow-up. “Post hoc analyses suggested that, for police, hyperarousal PTSD symptoms were predictive of decreased abstinence likelihood at the follow-up visit,” the authors stated.

Parker Waichman comments that the study is published at a time when responders and 9/11 advocates are fighting for reauthorization of the Zadroga Act, which was signed into law in early 2011. The act established the WTC Health Program, which provides medical treatment and monitoring, and reopened the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which provides compensation. Congress allowed the WTC Health Program to expire on September 30, 2015. More than 33,000 people receive medical treatment through the program and more than 70,000 are being monitored. Cash reserves are being used to run the program into next year, when benefits end entirely. The VCF is due to expire in October 2016.

“Many responders have suffered harm, both mentally and physically, as a result of 9/11,” said Matthew J. McCauley, Senior Litigation Counsel at the firm. “Renewing the Zadroga Act would provide the benefits they need and deserve.” Mr. McCauley added that, “This study is also an example of how the healthcare portion of the Zadroga Act has assisted in medical studies that will benefit others for many years to come.”

The Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act posted a video calling for permanent reauthorization of benefits. According to the video, more than 80 police officers and 100 firefighters have died due to toxic dust exposure at Ground Zero. Some 3,600 cases of cancer have been diagnosed among responders, and some have yet to be diagnosed.

Parker Waichman actively worked toward the 2010 passage of the Zadroga Act, including taking part in lobbying efforts and trips to the nation’s capital, often along with the firm’s clients—other responders and survivors. The firm continues to lobby and participate in delegations that seek to permanently extend the Act and its benefits.

The firm also continues to support the Zadroga Act and remains dedicated to fighting for the rights of responders and survivors. In fact, Parker Waichman was recently involved in the “Take Action” tool that allows responders, survivors, and advocates the ability to review their Congresspersons’ activities concerning the upcoming expiration of the Zadroga Act. Parker Waichman assisted with the research on, and creation of, the Tool, which may be accessed at the Renew 911 Health Organization’s website. Parker Waichman continues to fight, alongside Ground Zero first responders, survivors, and their advocates, to help ensure passage of Zadroga Act amendments, and vows to continue its efforts to safeguard these heroes and ensure that they receive all of the Zadroga Act compensation they deserve. To determine compensation eligibility under the Act, and for assistance with a claim, please visit Parker Waichman’s website or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).

Release ID: 96754