Is it Okay to Smoke Cigarettes During Recovery?

Smoking cigarettes always takes a negative toll on your health, and most people would advise against using cigarettes as a coping mechanism, regardless of the circumstance.

However, when it comes to someone going through rehabilitation for substance use disorder, the answer isn’t necessarily so black and white, even for many medical professionals. 

In this article, we’re going to take a look at whether or not smoking can be an acceptable coping technique during addiction recovery.

Why smoke during recovery?

Recovery from substance use disorder is one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through. It’s so challenging that the majority of people still struggle with relapse even after undergoing an intense treatment plan. Unfortunately, a number of individuals return to old habits and never achieve sobriety.

When someone is actively going through rehabilitation, they’re going to experience varying levels of mental and physical discomfort. From enduring withdrawal symptoms during the initial medical detox all the way to post-recovery when they’re adjusting to their new sober lifestyle, the journey can be draining.

In addiction recovery, you have to be torn down before you can build back up.

For individuals who have already smoked cigarettes prior to undergoing a recovery effort from substance use disorder, continuing to smoke may help them manage stress and anxiety as a less harmful (but still harmful) habit than using the substance that previously consumed the patient’s life. Once they’ve achieved sobriety and built a solid foundation in recovery, they can focus on smoking cessation.

On the other hand, recovery — when you’re stopping the use of other substances in favor of healthier coping methods — is as good a time as any to stop using tobacco products as well.

Do rehabilitation centers allow smoking?

Rehabilitation centers may not advertise that they allow smoking on the premises because no rehab center wants their patients to smoke. Their purpose is to help you build a healthier life and secure a better future. Typically, smoking cigarettes doesn’t contribute to either of those.

To truly know if a rehab center allows their patients to smoke, you’ll have to call the specific location directly and ask one of their staff members.

Pros and cons of smoking during recovery

During recovery, continuing to smoke tobacco might allow someone to bond with others in recovery through “social smoking” and manage the stress and discomfort of recovery and withdrawals. Cigarettes can also serve as a slightly less harmful option (in that it won’t derail their entire recovery effort) when tempted to get a fix.

However, there are also major cons to smoking cigarettes in recovery. Smoking can shorten life span and increase the risk of disease and death. If you didn’t smoke before starting recovery, you never want to form a potential new dependence or addiction to nicotine. In addition, for some people, smoking cigarettes might increase the likelihood of resuming alcohol or drug use

The bottom line

Nicotine addiction is difficult to break and can lead to a multitude of negative long-term effects on your health including disease, stroke, cancer and even death. It’s not a healthy or ideal coping mechanism by any means.

If you’ve entered into rehabilitation with a pre-existing smoking habit, recovery is one of the best (if not the best) place to quit a nicotine addiction once and for all. 

If smoking cigarettes has never been part of your routine but you’re thinking about picking up the habit in rehab, we strongly advise you don’t.

While smoking might act as a temporary solution to the discomfort and stress that often accompanies new sobriety, it isn’t a healthy coping mechanism, and it always causes more harm than good in the long run.

Contact us for additional support

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol use disorder, we’re here to help.

At Bluff, we believe in full-spectrum rehabilitation that not only utilizes proven, traditional treatment methods such as counseling and behavioral therapy, but also integrates holistic methods such as nature therapy, nutritional education and spirituality.

To get started, submit a form or call our office anytime at 844-242-0806 to speak with one of our qualified representatives to learn more about how we can help you rebuild your healthiest life.