Quitting Smoking Helps Alcoholics in Recovery

smoking and drinkingIt’s no secret that most people who smoke cigarettes also drink alcohol, but not much information has been available regarding the link between smoking and drinking. However, a recent study found that quitting smoking can have considerable influence on whether or not alcoholics are able to recover.

The research was headed by Andrea Weinberger, Yeshiva University and Yale University School of Medicine; Renee Goodwin and Jonathan Platt, Mailman School of Public Health; and Bianca Jiang and Renee Goodwin, Queens College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York. The results of the study appear in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, and offer some insight into the connection of alcoholism and smoking.

“Quitting smoking will improve anyone’s health,” says Goodwin, an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health. “But our study shows that giving up cigarettes is even more important for adults in recovery from alcohol since it will help them stay sober.”

The research team followed more than 30,000 adults with a past alcohol use disorder (AUD) enrolled in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). They were assessed at two time points, three years apart, on substance use, substance use disorders, and related physical and mental disorders. The found that daily smokers and nondaily smokers had approximately twice the rate of relapse back to alcohol dependence compared with nonsmokers.

This information should be heeded by individuals and treatment centers throughout the country, as too often people continue smoking cigarettes throughout the course of their treatment for alcoholism as well as after discharge. However, if they are serious about their recovery and their health in general they would take necessary steps to quit smoking as well, as this would give them better results overall.

Mike Loverde

With firsthand experience with addiction, Mike Loverde is now a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP), as accredited by the Association of Intervention Specialists and the Pennsylvania Certification Board. He founded Family First Intervention in 2008 and has since helped hundreds of families find intervention and addiction rehabilitation solutions.

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