Should I Quit Smoking in Recovery?

Many people in recovery continue to smoke cigarettes. While nicotine is not psychoactive enough to trigger one’s physical allergy to cause them to relapse, there is evidence that smoking cigarettes is linked with substance use, relapse, and a slower recovery process.
Quitting smoking when we enter into sobriety can be an effective way to improve our recovery. Researchers at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University and the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy at City University of New York analyzed data of 5,515 respondents of the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Condition in 2001-2002 and again in 2004-255. The researchers found that those who were still smoking three years later “were about 1.5 times more likely to use drugs and twice as likely to have SUD at follow-up than those who quit smoking.
The researchers also found that heavier smokers were more likely to relapse than moderate smokers. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “the odds of relapse increased by 0.7 percent for each cigarette smoked per day 3 years later.” Researchers hypothesized that the statistics could be due to the fact that cigarette smoking often accompanies drug and alcohol use and that some studies “have linked nicotine exposure to cravings for stimulants and opiates.”
Many people feel that asking a person to quit smoking while they are quitting other drugs is too difficult or that there is no connection between smoking and abstinence from drugs. However, a 2017 study by Andrea Weinberg of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found thats relapse occurs in 11 percent of smokers, but only 8 percent of those who quit smoking and 6.5 percent in non-smokers three years after individuals achieve sobriety. Andrea Weinberger, lead author of the study, explained, “Quitting smoking will improve anyone’s health, but our study shows that giving up cigarettes may be even more important for adults in recovery from illicit substance use disorders since it helps them stay sober.” While it is unlikely that quitting smoking will become a standard part of treatment, it may be the perfect opportunity for clients to give up the habit.

Your quality of life doesn’t have to be diminished as a result of addiction and alcoholism. You can make the brave decision to seek help now and embark upon the rewarding journey of recovery. Oceanfront Recovery, a licensed substance abuse disorder and dual-diagnosis treatment center in the heart of beautiful Laguna Beach, offers individualized treatment designed to follow a continuum of care intended to address the individual needs to each client and to support re-integration into independent living. For more information, please call today: (877) 279-1777