Are you a tobacco user? Do you smoke cigarettes daily, or even occasionally? If you answered yes to any of those questions, we strongly encourage you to consider smoking cessation. In the United States, nary a soul is unaware of the dangers cigarettes pose to one’s health. Use leads to addiction and can be deadly. It is for those reasons that smoking rates in practically every demographic across the country have been on steady decline for decades.
Unfortunately, and despite the realities of using nicotine products, an estimated 36.5 million adults in the United States currently smoked cigarettes in 2015. With more than 16 million Americans living with a smoking-related illness. While people typically begin down the road of nicotine addiction because they enjoy smoking, once addiction takes hold it is often no turning back. There are many who would argue that long-term smoking cessation is harder than abstaining from more debilitating substances. Such as alcohol and even heroin, for instance.
Attempting to quantify if that is actually the case is no easy task. At the end of the day, it is not even all that important to point out that cigarettes are more difficult to quit than other substances. What is important is encouraging people to utilize smoking cessation techniques and aids. Certain medications and nicotine replacement therapies can help individuals recover from nicotine addiction. It is a difficult goal to be sure, but it is possible. And if you are working a program of addiction recovery, quitting could help you avoid a relapse.
Mitigating the Risk of Addiction Relapse
Even though nicotine is highly addictive, few people go to addiction treatment for the drug. Yet, many of the people who seek treatment for drugs and/or alcohol also smoke cigarettes. A significant number of which will still be smoking at the time of discharge. Some who go to treatment will decide to tackle every mind-altering substance to which they are addicted. Others will just focus on the ones that are making their life unmanageable. It is worth noting that in 2015, the overall rate of smoking among people in treatment for drug and alcohol use was 84 percent.
Have you successfully completed an addiction treatment program, are still smoking and working a program? If so, you may be saying to yourself, ‘so what?’ Well, the fact that you are still smoking could impact your mission to achieve long-term recovery. Research published earlier this year showed that smokers working a program of recovery have an increased risk of relapse, according to a Boston University (BU) press release. Researchers at BU: School of Public Health found that smokers have twice the odds of substance use disorder (SUD) relapse.
“To our knowledge, no prior study has shown that cigarette smoking—both continued smoking and new-onset smoking—is associated with an increase in the likelihood of relapse to SUD among adults with past SUDs,” the authors said. “The treatment of SUDs is extremely challenging, and even if not smoking is just modestly associated with improvements in sustained abstinence, this association may be useful in treatment programs.”
Abstaining From All Substances
If you are in need of addiction treatment for drugs or alcohol, you may think that quitting cigarettes at the same time is too much to handle. Are you ready to make the courageous decision to surrender and seek assistance? Most treatment centers will not force you to abstain from cigarettes, doing so would do little good. However, you would be wise to go to any lengths for the goal of achieving long-term sobriety. You already know where active substance use will take you. So, again it would be prudent to make every effort to achieve your goal, even if that means quitting smoking.
Please contact Immersion Recovery Center to begin the life-changing journey of addiction recovery. We can help you with your addiction to all mind-altering substances, and any co-occurring mental health disorders that might be present.