24/7 Confidential Hotline

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Smoking Cigarettes and Relapse Risk

Last week, we shared research indicating that cannabis use is up among young adults and that tobacco use is down. The rise in marijuana use somewhat concerns, especially considering that Congress is planning to vote on legislation to federally legalize cannabis. If or when such legislation comes to pass, then experts must continue disseminating the facts about cannabis and marijuana use disorder.

The news that tobacco use is down among college-age young adults is excellent. What's more, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that cigarette smoking among American adults dropped to its lowest recorded level in 2018, according to CNN. The findings represent a roughly two-thirds decrease in adult smoking since the CDC began compiling data on tobacco use in 1965.

Targeted anti-smoking campaigns during the last few decades have paid off; the allure of tobacco use is waning. Still, there is more that needs to be done in connecting smokers with smoking cessation programs. The CDC reports that an estimated 49.1 million adults (nearly 1 in 5) used any tobacco product in 2018. Almost 50 million smokers aren't a small number and are evidence that efforts to educate people about the dangers must continue.

Tobacco, like alcohol, is both legal and deadly. A myriad of types of cancer and disease are linked to tobacco use. While vaping or the use of e-cigarettes has dominated headlines of late, the CDC found that cigarettes are still the most common method of nicotine absorption at 13.7%.

Cigarettes were followed by cigars, cigarillos, and filtered cigars at 3.9%. E-cigarette use came in third: 3.2% of U.S. adults vaped in 2018; however, 7.2% of young adults 18 to 24 vaped last year.

Smoking in Recovery: Risk of Relapse

Many men and women actively working programs of recovery continue to smoke cigarettes after treatment. While tobacco use creates fewer problems for people compared to other mind-altering substances, people in recovery are strongly encouraged to give up tobacco too.

Setting aside the dangers tobacco poses to one's health, there is published research that indicates smoking increases the risk of relapse. Last year, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported that people in recovery for substance use disorders (SUD) were more likely to relapse if they smoke. Since abstinence is the mission of people in sobriety, men and women must do whatever they can to increase their chances of sustained recovery.

Researchers found that people who smoked while in recovery were 1.5 times more likely to relapse than those who give up smoking. Heavy smokers were found to be much more significantly at risk of relapse. The data indicates that the odds of relapse increased by 0.7 percent for each cigarette smoked per day.

It's not uncommon for some individuals to pick up smoking while in recovery. This demographic was found to be at the highest risk of relapse; they were five times more likely to report a relapse or return to active SUD. The odds of relapse increased by 2.4 percent for each cigarette smoked per day for this group.

The researchers pointed out that cigarettes may serve as a drug cue and relapse trigger. They also cite other studies that have linked nicotine exposure to cravings for stimulants and opiates.

Giving up tobacco isn't easy under any circumstances, but it's possible to improve one's chances with assistance. Several national smoking cessation programs will provide those who have a desire to quit with free patches, gums, and medications (in some cases).

SLO County Addiction Treatment

The Haven at Pismo can help you or a loved one begin the journey of lasting recovery. On top of providing clients with tools for abstaining from drugs and alcohol, we help men and women with smoking cessation. Please contact us today to learn more about the evidence-based therapies utilized at the Haven. Our team of addiction professionals is dedicated to helping men and women renew to their best today.