Rethinking Cigarette Smoking and Substance Abuse

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:


We now recognize that cigarette smoking is not the harmless pastime that it was once touted to be. In the world of addiction recovery, it is even more important to keep a close eye on the use of nicotine and cigarette smoking. With cigarette smoking, a common companion to substance abuse, many entering into addiction recovery may think it is too overwhelming to give up smoking and drugs all at once. However, the benefits of putting down cigarettes while in addiction recovery should be a consideration.

Relapse Trigger

Giving up cigarette smoking empowers those in recovery since it can serve as a potential trigger for relapse. Like many who use drugs or alcohol know, cigarettes are commonly used along with other substances, so continuing to smoke cigarettes can act as a drug cue and entice someone to relapse. Research supports this view and has shown that cigarette smoking leads to higher rates of substance abuse relapse.

Increased Cravings

It feels impossible to stop at just one cigarette. Nicotine is highly addictive, and it is the most common form of chemical dependency in the nation. Nicotine encourages cravings, but it doesn’t stop at cravings for nicotine alone. Studies link nicotine exposure to increased cravings for stimulants and opioids, which cause great concern for those recovering from a stimulant or opioid addiction.

Although some in recovery use cigarettes as a coping mechanism, they might be compromising their long-term success for recovery. Many who have already put down drugs or alcohol think that cigarettes are the only outlet they have left for relieving stress. Smoking cigarettes in the short term may alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety in early recovery, so they can serve a purpose. However, research backs the belief that cigarettes are ultimately contradictory to sober living in the long run, so giving up smoking while in recovery is worth considering.

Smoking cigarettes comes with many health risks, but the downside of smoking for those in recovery might be even more significant. Since smoking cigarettes has been shown to lead to higher rates of substance abuse relapse and increased cravings for stimulants and opioids, smoking cigarettes is a risky choice when trying to stay sober. If you or a loved one are struggling to get or remain sober, call Avalon Malibu. Avalon Malibu is a California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse treatment center dedicated to helping our clients on their journeys to finding healing for their challenges surrounding addiction. With our team of supportive and experienced professionals, we will tailor a treatment plan specific to your unique needs. For more information on how we may help you or a loved one, call us at (844) 857-5992.

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