Smoking And Recovery: More Than a Harmless Stereotype
We have all heard various statements about nicotine causing cancer, that secondhand smoke has bad effects more than just you, and every time you light up you are one step closer to death’s door. But when we enter recovery to stop our drug and alcohol habits, why do we not address our smoking habit too?
Nicotine is one of the most popular and frequently used drugs on the market. It is also a leading cause of disease and death in the United States. A single cigarette contains 69 known cancer-causing chemicals. Cigarettes increase your chances of lung and face cancer, emphysema, cardiovascular disease, and bronchial disorders. You would live 10 years longer if you stopped smoking.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “for up to 6 weeks after smokers quit, their brain cells have more nicotine-binding receptors than nonsmokers.” The more you smoke the more your body gets used to the nicotine in your brain. This results in your brain making more receptors which add to your cravings and withdrawal.
When you quit smoking, your body starts recovering immediately:
20 minutes: Your heart rate and blood pressure stabilize and return to normal.
10 hours: Carbon monoxide levels in your bloodstream start to drop and your oxygen levels return to normal.
72 hours: All the nicotine and carbon monoxide are completely gone, and you may find that you have more energy. Your lungs start to clear out and relax. You can now breathe easier, and your taste and smell improve.
3-9 months: Your circulation and lung function improve. Your breathing problems start to mend.
1 – 5 years: Your risk for heart disease and cancer is cut in half.
15 years: Your risk of having a heart attack is now the same as if you had never smoked.
You are no longer causing health risks to yourself or others. Since you no longer smoke you are not exposing anyone to secondhand smoke either, which has been known to cause cancer and heart disease as well.
Debunking the Myth of “Its Not Going to Kill You Right Away, but the Booze and Drugs Will”
Quitting your smoking habit has been on the back burner when it comes to addiction treatment. Too often people choose to focus solely on their drug and alcohol abuse claiming that it would be too hard to quit smoking at the same time. Well, it is not true. It has been proven that quitting smoking while quitting other substances at the same time increase your chances of remaining sober.
Many substances mess with the neurotransmitter dopamine. Nicotine and tobacco are some of those substances along with alcohol, opioids, meth, and cocaine. When any of these substances are in your body, your brain’s reward center is being triggered. You feel good when you have the substance in your body and crave it when you do not.
Smoking is an addiction that is slowly killing you and so are drugs and alcohol. It is important to enter recovery to quit all your bad habits, not just a select few because as long as your reward center is still being stimulated by a substance, it is going to be harder to remain clean while still smoking.
Tobacco and nicotine are gateway drugs, they are often connected to your other bad habits. When you drink you smoke, and when you smoke you drink. Using smoking to kick another habit is just as bad. When you try to kick a habit that was your smoking buddy, like drinking, you are more likely to relapse. You smoked, and now your body is now triggered to crave the drink to go with it.
There is no better time to quit than when you are entering recovery where they have all the tools to be able to help quit all of your bad habits, not just one. They have the knowledge and the tools to help arm you with the skills to remain clean.
It is about managing your addiction to its fullest, drugs, alcohol, and smoking. Waiting to be less stressed to quit smoking is an excuse. You decided to quit one habit, now is a great time to quit them all. Your chances of relapse go down when you have someone to help you. You reached out, now it is time to trust them.
Our approach combines an internationally recognized treatment team of clinical, administration and recovery management professionals who know how to provide a high end experience and facility to support a residential substance and alcohol treatment. We place you at the center of treatment, and our team coordinates its efforts with you to develop a personalized program.
Whether you come from across the world or across the river, Urban Recovery will work with you and your trusted providers that can help you make a healthy, successful, and stable transition back to your life. Located in Red Hook, Brooklyn, we are the only private, free-standing residential treatment center in New York City.