The Effects of Smoking and Drinking at the Same Time
For many people, drinking and smoking become habits that are used to help alleviate stress and wind down. It might not always be obvious the kind of damage that you could be doing to your body when using substances such as alcohol, cigarettes, and even marijuana because you enjoy the effects of them.
That doesn’t mean that they aren’t impacting your health, though!
Plus, people that use alcohol and drugs typically know that there are negative consequences that come from prolonged usage. To them, the positives might outweigh the negatives. You may not immediately see the effects of smoking and drinking on you, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t happening.
Keep reading to learn more about the effects of smoking and drinking simultaneously, both short-term and long-term.
What Are the Dangers of Smoking and Drinking?
Most people that drink and smoke are aware of the dangers that can come from these habits. They know that smoking and drinking can raise the risk of developing certain cancers but might not be aware of other issues they can amplify.
Both smoking and drinking have their own unique risks but are known to have a negative effect on blood pressure and cholesterol.
Smoking Health Risks
Smoking cigarettes is a habit that can be very difficult to quit. The nicotine in each cigarette smoked makes the habit addicting and compulsory.
Cigarettes contain 4,000 chemical compounds and 400 toxic chemicals that do a lot of damage to your body. Your lungs particularly will have a rough time if you are a heavy smoker, and the risk of developing lung cancer is heightened.
Smoking also lowers your HDL (“good”) cholesterol and raises your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. It also helps the LDL cholesterol stick to your lungs as the smoke injures your arteries, making them more susceptible to damage.
Not only that, but smoking thickens your blood, stiffens your artery walls, and cuts down on your blood’s ability to circulate through the body.
Drinking Health Risks
When you consume an excessive amount of alcohol, it can raise your blood pressure and weaken your heart. You may experience irregular heartbeats when drinking excessively, heightening your risk of heart failure.
Not only does it hurt your body in real time, but being inebriated puts you at a higher risk of other injuries. You lose your sense of balance, can’t communicate effectively, and are more likely to participate in risky behaviors when under the influence.
Smoking and Drinking Health Risks
The main health risk that smoking and drinking has is on your heart. Because both substances work to damage and weaken your heart, if you are doing both at the same time, you are simply speeding up the process.
You may notice more issues related to your heart the longer you continue to smoke and drink. Many people that do both do so because they feel they complement each other. Some people have formed habits with the two where one cannot go without the other.
Studies have shown that both smoking and drinking independently heighten the effects of the other. Once you are addicted to one, it’s hard to avoid developing an addiction to the other if you are using them at the same time.
Short-Term Effects of Smoking and Drinking
Not everyone who smokes and drinks at the same time can see the short-term effects of using them. The most common short-term effect that it can have is that you become unaware of how the alcohol is affecting your body because smoking is a depressant.
You may not feel as drunk because you are being mellowed out by smoking, which can lead to you consuming more alcohol than you actually need. If you’re unable to tell how drunk you are, you may consume an excessive amount of alcohol which can lead to a variety of hazards.
Long-Term Effects of Smoking and Drinking
Long-term effects are still being studied, but we do know that smoking and drinking tend to work off one another. There is the potential for throat and esophageal cancer to become a problem later in life because when a person drinks while smoking, the carcinogens from the cigarette are dissolved by the alcohol into the throat.
These carcinogens become trapped inside the sensitive tissues along the throat, which means they stay longer in the bloodstream. The longer you are exposed to carcinogens, the higher the likelihood of developing cancer later on.
Both long-term consequences of drinking and smoking can cause problems related to heart and mental health. When you combine the two, you must imagine that the risk for certain problems doubles.
What Are the Benefits of Quitting Smoking and Drinking?
While you might have used both smoking and drinking as a way to cope, if you can quit both or either habit, your life can improve tremendously. People who stop smoking often feel more energetic and less stressed out.
Their skin will look younger and gain back some elasticity, and they may feel more motivated to move their body and take care of it. On top of quitting smoking, by reducing the amount you drink or quitting altogether, you are lowering your risk for certain cancers, improving your self-esteem, getting back on track with your responsibilities, and feeling younger and healthier.
These changes don’t always happen overnight, and the first few weeks can be really challenging, but it’s all worth it when you feel like a reborn version of yourself.
Seek Community With Sober Sidekick
If you’re looking to stop smoking and drinking, you should consider joining a community with others with the same goal. Quitting can be hard, especially when you’re trying to do it on your own.
Nicotine and alcohol are addicting. Both substances make you feel like you need them to function, but this isn’t the case. You need hard work, drive, and dedication to overcome your addiction and live a healthier lifestyle.
With a community like Sober Sidekick, becoming sober and quitting your addictions has never been easier. You may feel lost — like you’re not sure if what you’re doing is working or useful.
Sober Sidekick allows you to find a space where you can ask all your questions and get answers that can actually help. The people in this sober community want to see more people join them in their sobriety and be successful.
Sign-up today by downloading the Sober Sidekick app on either Android or iPhone. You can gain access to other sober individuals from around the country, as well as resources to help you overcome addiction.
If you’re seeking out professional help, Sober Sidekick has got that too! Don’t wait another day wondering if you should quit smoking and drinking. If the thought has even entered your mind, it’s time to start acting on it!