Alcohol and Smoking

It is a well known fact that

Smokers Drink, Drinkers Smoke.

It is observed that 70% of the alcoholics are smokers. The main question arises is

Why and how does smoking and alcohol go together?

The exact reason for the nicotine-alcohol relationship is still unknown but it involves a complex chemical, biological and social aspect. It is observed that both smoking and alcohol are used in the similar social and stressful situations. Chemically nicotine acts as a stimulant whereas alcohol acts as depressant. Physiologically in the presence of nicotine alcohol is quickly metabolized by the body. Hence smokers drink more alcohol to obtain the desired effect.

Risks Related To Smoking and Alcohol:

The twofold dependence of nicotine and alcohol increases the risk of some cancers like throat, mouth, stomach, oesophageal, liver, pancreatic, bladder, bowel, brain, cervical, and breast cancers. The main reason is that alcohol interferes with the body’s mechanism to transform carcinogens (cancer causing factors) to harmless compounds. Alcohol also interferes with body’s mechanism to repair DNA damaged due to carcinogens.

The other related health risks are as follows:

  • Sexual Dysfunction and Fertility Problems:

    Combined effect of nicotine and smoking results in reduced quality and quantity of sperm as well as leads to erectile dysfunction.

  • Oral Cancers:

    90% of deaths due to oral cancer in UK is caused because of excess smoking and drinking.

  • Oesophageal Cancer:

    The oesophageal lining is being irritated due to alcohol which leads to inflammation and finally to cancer.

  • Peptic and Duodenal Ulcers:

    Nicotine is responsible for the increase in the concentration and volume of gastric acid resulting in ulcer formation. Whereas alcohol is responsible for the irritation, inflammation and bleeding of the mucosal lining of stomach and intestine.

Facts about Alcohol and Smoking:

According to the latest research study smoking has more negative effect on the health of a drinker as compared to alcohol. The research study found that tobacco related diseases are one of the major causes of deaths among heavy drinkers.

The research finding shows that the % of prevalence of smoking among alcoholics is 2-3 times higher than the general population. The study also suggests that ¼ of the alcoholics are all smokers.

  • In the year 1994 in UK, there were 27% of adults smoking cigarettes. The percentage of cigarette smoking adults in the year 1992 and 97 was 28% and 49% respectively.
  • It is observed that unskilled men and women in manual households tend to become smokers twice as compared to people in professional households.
  • If age is the criterion then it is observed that smoking is highly prevalent among the age group of 60 yrs and above.
  • It is found that 37% of smoking men cross the sensible limit of drinking as compared to 20% of non-smoking men.
  • Heavy drinkers are likely to smoke twice as compared to moderate or non-drinkers.
  • In case of women, the chances to exceed the sensible limit of drinking are double in smoking women as compared to non-smoking women.
  • The chance to smoke is thrice in case of women who drink more than 35 units in a week.
  • It is observed that in case of women who smoke during their pregnancy there is a reduction in child’s birth weight and higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
  • The risk of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) increases if a woman takes alcohol and smoking during her pregnancy.