Trending News: Reducing Alcohol May Help You Quit Cigs
Are you thinking of quitting smoking in the new year? Hoping to increase your chances of staying quit for as long as possible? If so, you might want to reduce your alcohol intake.
Yep, that’s right. Dialing back on the booze may help boost your smoke-free goals. That’s because a new study published in the Journal of Nicotine and Tobacco Research draws a link between alcohol use and smoking cessation efforts.
If you think that research is all about the psychological connections between tobacco and alcohol use, think again.
Nope, this study gets into the nitty-gritty science and assesses something called the nicotine metabolite ratio (NMR) – a biomarker that indicates how quickly a person’s system processes nicotine.
So, what’s going on? We know from previous lines of research that folks with higher nicotine metabolism levels are more prone to smoke – and have a tougher time quitting.
Apparently, reducing alcohol intake helps to slow that metabolic rate and therefore makes the smoking cessation process easier. Well, at least that’s what the research suggests.
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While the number of smokers in the United States has dropped significantly in recent years, current data suggests the use of alcohol with cigarettes is still common. How common? Try 1-5 people.
Back to the study.
Investigators observed the NMR rates for 22 daily smokers who also struggled with problemed drinking. What they found was when the guys reduced their alcohol intake [from an average of 29 drinks per week to 7], they experienced meaning declines in their NMR ratios. In turn, this caused less smoking.
Sarah Dermody, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor at Oregon State University shared the following comments in a press release.
“It takes a lot of determination to quit smoking, often several attempts. This research suggests that drinking is changing the nicotine metabolism as indexed by the nicotine metabolite ratio, and that daily smoking and heavy drinking may best be treated together.”
Guy Counseling talked to Dr. John Moore, a licensed psychotherapist and board-certified alcohol and drug counselor about the study to get his impressions. Moore is also the editor of this site.
“We’ve known for a long time there is a strong psychological link between cigarette use and drinking in social settings. This new study helps to add to our body of knowledge about smoking cessation and alcohol intake.”
Moore goes on to add, “The decision to stop smoking is a deeply personal one. It’s important for people who are quitting to create a comprehensive plan well in advance.
This may mean making the decision to dial back on alcohol use because it can impair judgment and serve as a behavioral trigger. And according to this new study, drinking also can have an impact on physiological factors related to quitting,” Moore said.
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Does this mean you should give up the booze entirely if you are trying to stop? Not exactly. Dr. Greg Harms, a licensed psychologist who works with nicotine addiction, shared the following insights:
“Cutting back alcohol use, particularly during those first couple of months after stopping, may be the best approach. What doesn’t help people is when they feel like they have to give up everything at once, which can make them feel penalized. Moderation is key,” says Harms.
Well, there you have it guys. If your goal is to stop smoking, less whiskey, beer and wine might help to boost your chances at success.
Have you successfully quit smoking? If so, did you reduce your alcohol intake?