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Big Texas Rehab Bans Tobacco

"Smoke 'em if you got 'em," says Austin Recovery—because soon the treatment facility is going entirely tobacco-free.

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Goodbye to all that. Photo via

By Hunter R. Slaton

02/10/12

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People trying to kick drugs or booze at Austin Recovery, the largest inpatient rehab in Texas, are about to lose one of the traditional—if physically deleterious—pillars of early sobriety (alongside bad coffee, lots of 12-step meetings and a tooth-melting quantity of sweets). The rehab will go smoke-free campus-wide on April 30—even though 80% of people entering treatment puff “pearl handles.” But it’s not just Marlboros: Austin Recovery Director of Marketing and Communications Ramona Cruz-Peters tells The Fix that the rehab is banning all tobacco products, including dip, chew, snuff, snus and the like. As for those new e-cigarettes, there’s been no official word as yet, but they will most likely not be allowed either, says Cruz-Peters, as “the act of seeing someone smoking one might be triggering” to other nic-fiending residents. Although a draft rule to make all rehab facilities entirely smoke-free, as in New York in New Jersey, is currently working its way through the Texas legislature, Austin Recovery made its decision independently, in a desire to “be ahead of the curve,” she adds. And, “It’s not like we’re going to be just banning smoking; [smoking cessation] is going to being fully integrated into treatment from day one,” including therapeutic approaches alongside more prosaic quit-smoking tools such as nicotine patches or lozenges (but probably not gum or Chantix).

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