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Friday, August 12, 2016

Quitting Cigarettes May Reduce Drinking

While restrictions on where people can smoke cigarettes in the United States have become much tighter in recent years, it is still safe to say that wherever people are drinking alcohol—cigarettes will be around as well. It wasn’t that long ago that people could smoke cigarettes in bars across the country. And while people are smoking less now than in decades past, people at bars still crowd into designated smoking areas outside taverns. Some could even argue that smoking and drinking go hand and hand. A number of people who don't even smoke cigarettes, will find themselves smoking when imbibing.

Many people who are addicted to cigarettes often find it hard to be around alcohol when trying to quit—for fear that alcohol will make them want to smoke. However, new research suggests that people who quit smoking may actually reduce their alcohol intake, Medical News Today reports. The findings were published in BMC Public Health.

The study involved 31,878 individuals from England aged 16 and older, between March 2014 and September 2015. Of the pool, 6,278 reported smoking, 144 of which had attempted to quit in the week prior to filling out the survey, according to the article. When compared to the respondents who did not try to quit smoking, those who had attempted smoking cessation reported lower overall alcohol intake and lower levels of binge drinking.

"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," said study lead author Jamie Brown, of University College London in the United Kingdom. "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."

The findings are important to the field of addiction medicine because past research has shown that people in recovery who quit smoking are less likely to relapse on the substance of choice, compared to people in recovery who have not quit. If you are in treatment or going to be in the near future, it is always advised to give smoking cessation a shot, as it may greatly improve your ability to abstain from other mind altering substances.

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