Quitting Smoking in Addiction Recovery: A Good Idea or Not?

Quitting smoking in addiction recovery: a good idea or not?

Here, we review some of the medical and scientific evidence around the idea of quitting smoking in addiction recovery. Then, we invite your questions and comments to us at info@addictionblog.org.

Does quitting smoking jeopardize recovery?

Nicotine dependence and smoking cigarettes often accompany drug and alcohol addiction. Even though it’s been scientifically confirmed that nicotine addiction and substance addiction can be co-morbid, treatment for nicotine or tobacco dependence is not routinely included in treatment programs.

Why not? Well, there is a general concern that addressing both addictions at the same time can be too difficult on the patients, and that it might jeopardize the success of the recovery.


Research shows that patients who quit smoking, actually increase their likelihood for long-term sobriety. So, smoking cessation doesn’t disrupt alcohol addiction recovery. However, this doesn’t mean withdrawal symptoms from suddenly non-smoking should be ignored. The good news is that medical professionals can help.

Why stop smoking in recovery?

Addicts who have decided to quit alcohol or drugs can remain hopeful and optimistic that quitting smoking is a long-term investment in health. Most addicts pick up new habits on the way of recovery, and smoking is a destructive addiction. Nicotine addiction might not be as dangerous as alcohol or drug addiction, but recovery is about becoming completely addiction free. We support the idea that putting aside all psychoactive substances also includes tobacco (not to mention caffeine). Here are some more reasons people in recovery should quit smoking:

Continuing smoking may act as a trigger for substance abuse. Memories and associations of drinking or taking drugs and smoking can create strong cravings.

Scientists say that patients in recovery who smoke cigarettes, tend to be psychologically and physically unfit. Quitting tobacco can help increase self-esteem and help people get the most out of recovery.

There is a certain note of guilt surrounding smokers who are in recovery for substance addiction. First, there is pressure from the media and external forces; then there is the internal fight. But, guilt is one of the things that may just end up taking people back to their drug-of-choice.

Making healthier choices is a part of the recovery process. Quitting smoking can be one of those healthier, smart decisions.

Many addicts cross from one addiction to another. Soon, smoking may become a coping mechanisms. But, recovery is about facing life and starting over. Turning to cigarettes for comfort only makes people keep avoiding problems.

Basically, it’s no fun to be addicted to any substance. Moving forward and quitting smoking can bring even MORE freedom and awareness. And isn’t addiction recovery about deeper self-awareness and acceptance?

When to start?

Experts say the key for successfully quitting tobacco lays in the preparation. So, developing the will to quit smoking and getting psychologically ready to quit is essential. Choosing a “Quit Smoking Day” is effective for many.

People can then ask for help! Remember that we don’t have to do recovery alone. There are numerous aids for quitting available, which can be your help, encouragement and support. Some common tips to help resist the urge to smoke include:

avoid sitting with smokers
chew gum or take some hard candy to keep the mouth busy
go places where smoking is not allowed
keep the hands busy
keep well hydrated
repeat goals in your mind
stay busy during an intense cravings episode (only lasts ~5min)
throw away all cigarette packs and cigarettes

Quitting smoking in recovery questions

They say the healing process begins within the first 20 minutes of putting the last cigarette down. Thousands of people in recovery for substance addiction quit smoking too. So, why not YOU or your client?

Do you have any further questions regarding smoking cessation in alcohol or drug recovery? You can send them to us via our Addiction Blog contact page. We appreciate your feedback and try to answer all legitimate questions, promptly and personally.
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