Smoking During Recovery

Tobacco is the number one cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S. It’s responsible for 430,000 deaths per year, and causes serious health complications such as lung disease, coronary heart disease, bronchitis, emphysema, and cancer. Many people with substance abuse disorders are also addicted to nicotine, or at least smoke regularly, but drug rehab programs often don’t treat or even address tobacco use. What is the effect of continuing to smoke during recovery?


According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), people struggling with substance abuse are much more likely to smoke cigarettes. 75% of people over the age of 12 who were treated at an addiction recovery facility within the past year reported cigarette smoking within the past month. In comparison, 24% of the general public reported cigarette smoking within the past month. People with substance abuse disorders likely turn to cigarettes because they offer a soothing, calming effect, and are seen as the lesser of two evils. Over time, however, those with chemical dependencies are more likely to become addicted to tobacco because their brains are already conditioned for addiction due to their pre-existing substance abuse disorder.


Despite what many people believe, smoking cigarettes is much more harmful than other forms of substance abuse in the long run. According to SAMHSA, an 11-year study found that out of 845 people who were in addiction treatment programs, 51% died due to tobacco-related issues—a figure that is 1.5 times the rate of mortality by other substance-related issues. Smoking kills more people than other drugs, even alcohol, and is far more dangerous. When combined with other substance abuse, such as alcoholism, smoking radically, devastatingly increases the chance of death. Clearly, smoking should be addressed and treated in addiction recovery centers.


Unfortunately, many addiction treatment centers don’t treat tobacco dependence for fear of jeopardizing the client’s recovery from other substances such as alcohol or heroin. The mistaken belief persists that if an alcoholic or heroin addict is deprived of both drugs and cigarettes, then they’ll relapse. However, studies have shown that stopping smoking actually increases the chances of long-term sobriety in those who are in recovery. Ridding the body of all toxic and addictive substances can only help the body heal faster, and will equip people in recovery to make better choices free from the influence of drugs—including nicotine.


If you or a loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, please call our intake coordinators at Right Path Drug Rehab right away, and we’ll connect you with a luxury drug rehab program that’s right for your needs. Our compassionate and experienced staff can treat dual diagnosis and provides a monitored and safe detoxification process for each client. During treatment, client will gain practical skills for fighting cravings and avoiding relapse, attend individual and group meetings, and develop a supportive community of peers and mentors. Please contact us today to learn more about our program and begin laying the foundation for long-term sobriety and vitality.

Comments are closed.