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Philly health officials, advocates split on impact of smoking ban at inpatient rehabs

Protesters marched down Market Street Tuesday to demand that Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health end its ban on smoking cigarettes at inpatient addiction-treatment facilities.

The protesters say the ban dissuades people from entering treatment if they can’t smoke inside. They also say it makes people more likely to leave treatment early against medical advice and is causing people to get kicked out of treatment.

Brooke Feldman, who is in long-term recovery and works as a social worker at an outpatient treatment center, organized the protest. At a time when Philadelphia is experiencing unprecedented overdose numbers, she said, the city’s addiction treatment centers need to meet people where they are.

“If someone says, ‘Look, I want to stop shooting dope, but I’m not ready to quit smoking cigarettes and I’m not going to go to treatment if you force me to do that, then they should have options available,” said Feldman.

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