Can You Smoke At Alcohol Rehab Centers?

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You have decided to go to rehab and get treated for alcohol addiction. Now, on top of everything else you have to think about, you keep asking the same question: will I be able to smoke cigarettes while I’m there?

Smoking Is Often Permitted At Alcohol Rehab Centers

There are no established hard and fast rules about smoking while in an addiction treatment facility in the U.S. While it has been estimated that only one out of 10 drug treatment facilities in the U.S. ban smoking cigarettes completely, most restrict it to certain outside spaces and very few allow smoking indoors. The rules varying greatly between facilities so it will depend on the type of treatment facility you pick whether smoking will be permitted or not.

The Correlation Between Alcohol And Tobacco Dependence

It is currently estimated that 46 million adults in the United States used both alcohol and cigarettes in the past year. And 6.2 million of the 46 million reported having and Alcohol Use Disorder and dependence on nicotine. So, whether or not they can be smoked at a treatment center is a very common question for people entering alcohol treatment. This is especially so because dependence on alcohol has been correlated with dependence on tobacco.

According to The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction, people who are dependent on alcohol are three times more likely than others to smoke cigarettes. And those who are dependent on tobacco are four times more likely than others to be dependent on alcohol.

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Because people suffering from alcohol addiction are more likely to smoke, they are often found to be at higher risk for developing tobacco-related complications including multiple cancers, lung disease, and heart disease. In fact, statistics suggest that more people addicted to alcohol die of tobacco-related illness than die of alcohol-related problems.

This link can bring up important issues during treatment for addiction to these substances. Some facilities choose to focus on the alcohol dependence first and then treat the tobacco dependence. Others choose to address both at once.

Ultimately, the individual seeking treatments makes the choice whether they smoke or not because these addictions depend a great deal on individual factors involved.

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Will Smoking Cigarettes Have Negative Effects On Alcohol Addiction Treatment?

The effectiveness of treatment is dependent on a better understanding of how these two substances, and the addictions they can cause, interact with each other. Some studies have shown that consuming both alcohol and cigarettes together can trigger the same pleasure centers in the brain.

One study found that drinking alcohol can enhance the pleasure reported from smoking cigarettes. This is also supported by past animal studies. This should be a consideration when thinking about bringing cigarettes with you to treatment, as smoking cigarettes may cause cravings for alcohol. Overall, this can make alcohol addiction treatment more difficult to deal with.

Why Is Co-Use So Common?

There are a lot of environmental factors that contribute to the co-use of alcohol and tobacco. Because both drugs are legally available it can be easy to abuse them if you’re not careful. It has also been suggested that there are some common biological factors between co-abusers that could be to blame for the addictions.

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There is a common part of the brain affected when alcohol and tobacco are used together. The brain cells release dopamine (the happy hormone) into the brain’s system and binds to the chemicals from the nicotine. This can be dangerous because it can result in a type of cross-tolerance to develop. Meaning that the more alcohol you consume the more nicotine you crave and vice versa.

Tobacco Addiction Is Not Always Address In Alcohol Treatment

It has not standard to address tobacco addiction when being treating for alcohol addiction. Some health professionals will admit that this may be because it would be too difficult to quit both addictions at once. Studies have produced mixed results as far as treating these addictions at the same time.

New Jersey is the one state that currently requires addiction treatment facilities to address tobacco dependence as well as primary substance dependence. They maintain smoke-free grounds and address and treat nicotine dependence alongside the primary dependence, in this case alcohol.

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Despite concerns that this would negatively affect treatment the preliminary results seem pretty promising. It was noted later on that while this policy was put in place by the public authority of the state, it was not actively enforced and this leads some professionals to believe that the study’s outcomes may have been skewed.

Due to the negative side effects that result from one or both of these addictions it is important to address both. Whether it is one at a time or both at once, it is the best choice for overall wellbeing to improve. Alcohol addiction is hard enough to overcome on its own, dealing with a tobacco addiction that may trigger the alcohol addiction can make it that much harder.

When deciding on a treatment facility these are the things worth considering. To ensure that you get the most out of your treatment in the long-run.

For More Information Related to “Can You Smoke At Alcohol Rehab Centers?” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From



Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States
Oxford Academic – Smoking Policies in U.S. Outpatient Drug Treatment Facilities

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