Can I Smoke While At Rehab?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on September 20, 2023

Attending a substance abuse program may require giving up cigarettes as well as drugs or alcohol. While each facility is different, there are reasons why treatment centers may choose not to allow clients to smoke cigarettes.

Can I Smoke Cigarettes While In Rehab?

Deciding to seek treatment for drug or alcohol addiction can be overwhelming in itself.

For people who smoke cigarettes, giving up smoking may cause added stress initially but ultimately help them in their goal to be sober.

Why Many Rehab Facilities Allow Smoking

Clients at addiction treatment centers are three to four times more likely to smoke cigarettes than the general population. This is why many rehab centers allow clients to smoke.

The early stages of recovery, such as during detox or while the person is experiencing withdrawal, can be especially difficult. Emotions are raw and exposed, and guilt and shame are common.

During the therapeutic stages of treatment, clients learn the causes of addiction, how to manage cravings, and how to deal with triggers, like difficult emotions. This can be overwhelming at times.

Clients may feel that adding tobacco cessation on top of drug and alcohol treatment is too much.

Why Some Facilities Do Not Permit Smoking

There are some treatment facilities, however, that do not permit smoking, and the prevalence of this depends greatly on the facility itself or on state regulations.

Improved Treatment Outcomes

Some studies have shown that when clients quit smoking during treatment, they stand a better chance of improving their recovery odds.

Other researchers have pointed out that smoking and opioid addiction usually go hand in hand, which means that smoking can actually be a trigger for opioid use.

Public Facilities’ Bans On Smoking

In New York, for example, publicly funded addiction treatment centers were once required to ban smoking anywhere on the grounds. They were also required to provide tobacco cessation services to clients.

About a year after the ban went into effect, client smoking decreased by almost 7%. Five years after, there was little further change in client smoking. However, smoking among staff members of New York addiction treatment centers dropped by more than 13%.

What Smoking At A Rehab Facility Looks Like

If a treatment center allows you to smoke, it is possible that you may be able to smoke anywhere on campus, but it is also likely that you may have to smoke in designated areas.

Designated smoking areas could be as broad as smoking outside or as specific as smoking in a certain area of the campus. Treatment centers may also only allow smoking at specific times.

While you are there, you may consider quitting smoking. Some treatment centers offer nicotine replacement therapy to help with the process.

Find Addiction Treatment Today

If you or a loved one is facing substance abuse, call us today. We have more information for you about what addiction treatment looks like and how to get started on your recovery journey.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on September 20, 2023


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