Let’s start by just putting it out there: smoking cigarettes is pretty bad for you. If you were at all curious if it was possible to worsen the effects of smoking, all you really have to do is add alcohol. How, you ask? Let me do you the pleasure of explaining exactly how these two substances combined are the opposite of a recipe for success and why it’s time to put down that drunk cigarette.
1. Increased Drinking
A drunken cigarette is common. We’ve all either done it ourselves or known someone who says that they only light up when they’ve been drinking. But research has shown that nicotine enhances the warm, fuzzy feeling of being tipsy or drunk, which only works to make our bodies want to drink more (even if we’ve already had more than enough).
The c-word. By drinking and smoking, you put yourself at a higher risk for mouth, throat and liver cancer in particular. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) published a study that claims, for people who both smoke and drink, the danger of mouth and throat cancer increases significantly. Some research has reported that alcohol and tobacco could work together to also increase the risk of liver cancers.
While not nearly as serious as cancer risks, this effect is felt much more immediately. Apparently people who drink a lot and smoke as well during their night time antics are more likely to feel it the morning after, according to a 2012 report in the Journal of Studies of Alcohol and Drugs.
This one is really simple. Nicotine and alcohol are both substances that people can get addicted to, especially when they are used too often. This addiction is also known as dependence. Overuse can also lead to a person’s sensitivity to the effects of substances being lessened. This decrease in sensitivity is called tolerance.
When you can tolerate a substance, you usually have to start to consume more than usual in order to achieve the desired effect. So dependence and tolerance are essentially one big, vicious cycle.
People who smoke and drink are subject to the next level: cross-tolerance. This is when your tolerance to one substance’s effects are correlated directly to another substance. The NIAAA study also found that for those who use both alcohol and cigarettes, their chances of tolerance of both grows exponentially.
5. Brain Damage
Chronic smoking and drinking may have an serious impact on a person’s cognitive function, according to a symposium held by the Research Society on Alcoholism. Chronic smoking and alcohol drinking tends to occur together more often than not. These studies show that the effects on the brain that were once believed to be due to only alcohol drinking are actually more likely the result of the chronic use of both of the substances.