Are There Downsides to Smoking Tobacco During Recovery?

Man smoking tobacco during his recovery For many people in addiction recovery, tobacco is of least concern. A common thought to smoking cigarettes while in addiction recovery is, “I’m already quitting the biggest issue – it won’t hurt me to have cigarettes!” In the grand scheme of things, it seems truly harmless; after all, tobacco is one of the most widely abused substances in the world. While there are more commercials warning against them, cigarettes are still a mainstream part of our society – but those in recovery may not understand just how much of a negative impact smoking can have on their recovery.

Tobacco is often seen as a vice that will “take the edge off”, but the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that cigarette smoking actually increases the likelihood of a person’s relapsing from substance use disorder (SUD). Researchers from New York City conducted a study which assessed 5,155 people in recovery from a SUD and who were practicing sobriety. After following up with these participants 3 years later, participants who were still smoking tobacco were 1.5 times more likely to use drugs and twice as likely to have a SUD.

Andrea Weinberger, an assistant professor and lead author of the study mentioned above, told the Chicago Tribune in 2017,

“…Our study shows that giving up cigarettes may be even more important for those in recovery from illicit substance use disorders, since it may help them stay sober.”

While it may feel impossible to quit the nicotine habit, it could very well serve as a preventative measure for your recovery. As it’s still an addiction, you’ll want to ensure that you’re surrounded by healthcare professionals; although you’ll experience some withdrawal symptoms, the reward will be much greater than the temporary discomfort you feel in coming off of them. If you’re ready to start your journey to recovery today, speak with someone from Cumberland Heights – a treatment center dedicated to providing you with exceptional, personalized care.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.