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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Quitting Smoking While In Rehab

Cigarette (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Do you smoke cigarettes? Have you ever tried to stop smoking? Were you successful? If you are a smoker, then you know how difficult this process can be; however, when you enter rehab to stop using alcohol and/or drugs you might soon realize that the treatment professionals also encourage or even demand that you also stop smoking cigarettes. There is no doubt that "getting clean" of all addictive substances has merit and is an holistic approach to good health, but how do you convince patients to attempt to abstain from cigarette smoking?

At least one state has passed a law that requires all publicly funded recovery centers must be smoke-free. That state is Utah.  According to KSL.com:
Under a wellness initiative announced [January 12, 2011] at the treatment center by representatives of the Utah Department of Health and the Utah Department of Human Services, all publicly funded substance abuse and mental health facilities in the state will be tobacco free by 2012. The underlying goal the Recovery Plus initiative is to develop holistic treatment plans for all clients in substance abuse and mental health facilities that receive public funding. The program will integrate tobacco cessation into treatment protocols and require the campuses to be tobacco free.
It is important to note that the initiative has two basic principles: "No one will be denied treatment because of their tobacco use. Education and nicotine replacement therapy will be provided to all clients."

Now 18 months later Utah's publicly funded centers are very aware that many patients who want help to stop drinking and using drugs are struggling with smoking cessation. Many patients will leave detox and have left treatment much earlier because they are craving a cigarette. KSL.com reports that according to the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health: "...the vast majority of clients in the mental health and substance abuse treatment programs are smokers. Three- fourths of those in publicly funded mental health programs smoke, while 66 percent of those in substance abuse programs are smokers..."

This story will continue. Of course, we all understand that smoking is an addiction and a deadly health hazard for both the smoker and the community at large. Managing to a new law is never easy. Changing one's habits is difficult, just think of all the New Year's resolutions that are made and then quickly discarded when people realize how committed one must be to "change"!

Like most things in recovery, it really is one step at a time, one day at a time...looking forward.

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