Among all the substances that Americans are addicted to, smoking and drinking remain the biggest cause of preventable deaths in the country. Previous researches have indicated the extent to which cigarette smoking behavior and tendency to abuse alcohol are entwined.
There are studies that show people suffering from alcohol use disorder are more likely to be nicotine dependent, and those who smoke find it difficult to rid themselves of alcohol addiction. Thus, someone planning to control his smoking habit is advised to exercise restraint on frequent drinking to avoid a relapse.
Now, a recent research has found that attempts to curb smoking resulted in decreased alcohol consumption when compared to other smokers. Based on household surveys, the study – published online in the journal BMC Public Health in July 2016 – contradicts the observations made by previous researches that found a close link between dependence on nicotine and drinking habit.
Those who tried to quit smoking were less likely to binge drink
During the research, more than 6,000 people of 31,878 total respondents reported smoking habit from March 2014 to September 2015, and 144 participants had tried to get rid of smoking habit in the last week prior to the survey. They were then asked to respond to the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test consumption questionnaire.
The findings revealed that the respondents who had tried to give up smoking showed diminishing tendencies of alcohol consumption and were in lesser likelihood to be involved in binge drinking, and suffered lower risks associated with drinking as compared to those who did not make an attempt to quit smoking.
Stressing on the findings of the study, lead author Jamie Brown from University College London, England said, “These results go against the commonly held view that people who stop smoking tend to drink more to compensate. It’s possible that they are heeding advice to try to avoid alcohol because of its link to relapse.”
Smokers may consciously lower alcohol consumption to prevent relapse
The study has its own set of limitations as it failed to point out the causative effect of decrease in alcohol consumption as a consequence of alleviating smoking habit. The authors of the study suggested that smokers may consciously lower their alcohol consumption rates while trying to get rid of smoking habit to prevent relapse in the long run.
An alternative theory says that light drinkers show greater inclination to quit smoking. Assuming the validity of the alternative theory, it becomes imperative to encourage heavy drinkers to give up dependence on nicotine.
Brown said, “We can’t yet determine the direction of causality. Further research is needed to disentangle whether attempts to quit smoking precede attempts to restrict alcohol consumption or vice versa. We’d also need to rule out other factors which make both more likely. Such as the diagnosis of a health problem causing attempts to cut down on both drinking and smoking.”
Road to recovery
Addiction to anything results in adverse effects at both the physical and psychological levels. When one gets addicted to substances, it becomes difficult to quit later. More than the problem of addiction, the lack of adequate treatment facilities is an increasing cause of concern.
If you or your loved one has been living under the shadow of substance abuse and is looking for access to treatment, the Texas Substance Abuse Helpline can guide you to the best substance abuse rehab clinic in Texas. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-971-2658 or chat online for further information on substance abuse treatment centers in Texas.