Cigarettes and Recovery - A Double-Edged Sword

Many individuals struggling with a substance abuse disorder have also picked up a tobacco habit during the course of their life. Now that you have chosen to seek help with your addiction and attend treatment, you may be considering taking this opportunity to put down the cigarettes as well. There are two schools of thought when it comes to quitting smoking alongside quitting your intoxicant of choice. Let’s review both perspectives so you can determine which is more aligned with your specific situation so you can make a choice which best serves your continued sobriety.

Cigarettes are a drug much in the same way caffeine is a drug - commonplace in society but mind and mood altering nevertheless. Cigarettes have the added distinction of being extremely harmful to your health, all but guaranteeing your development of some sort of respiratory disorder later in life. Now that you are looking to improve your health by getting sober, quitting smoking is a logical step to this end. Additionally, studies bear out that those addicts who quit cigarettes are more likely to achieve long-term sobriety than those who continue smoking in recovery. This is a compelling reason to consider ending your relationship with tobacco just as you are ending your relationship with your drug of choice.

On the other hand, quitting smoking will cause you to go through nicotine withdrawal, leading to discomfort and anxiety during the critical early period of your recovery. Nicotine withdrawal could compound the anxiety you are already experiencing as a result of Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, or PAWS. Nothing is worth risking your sobriety for, not even quitting your tobacco habit, so for those who are dealing with a generally heightened level of anxiety in early sobriety, it may be best to hold off on quitting smoking for the time being. Speak with your therapist to determine whether or not you are in a place mentally and emotionally where quitting tobacco is a good idea.

Smoking is just as deadly as your substance of choice, it just happens to be a much more slow-acting killer. You should absolutely seek to quit tobacco now that you are getting sober and working to restore yourself to sanity and health; however, when you should make this attempt is something to think about. Adding to your anxiety in early sobriety puts you at an increased risk of relapse, so if you are already feeling stressed it is a good idea to hold off on putting down the tobacco until you have stabilized in sobriety. At Evolutions, we have developed a holistic treatment program which includes a variety of therapies and activities designed to mitigate stress, allowing you the opportunity to work through the nicotine withdrawal in a safe, secure environment. If you feel you would benefit from a treatment center which is supportive of your cessation of tobacco use as well as substance abuse, call our Admissions Counselors today at 833-818-3031 and let us help you achieve all your recovery goals!


Evolutions is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center located in beautiful South Florida. Our holistic approach to addiction treatment centers around addressing and healing the underlying issues at the root of addiction, rather than merely medicating symptoms away.

Our treatment program includes individual and group-based therapy to help clients understand and manage their symptoms and emotions.

If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, alcoholism, or any co-occurring disorders please call us at (833) 818-3031 or visit