Reducing alcohol could help quit smoking, study finds

Smoke rises from a burning cigarette as a woman smokes on the street in Bordeaux
Picture for representation Reuters

Tobacco smoking is one of the most deadly habits that is claiming the lives of millions all across the world. Even though people used to try hard to quit this habit, most of them often fail to successfully throw the cigarette away forever. Now, a new study report has suggested that reducing alcohol could be the first step to quit smoking.

During the study, researchers found that the nicotine metabolite ratio will be high among heavy drinkers, and as a result, they tend to smoke again and again, especially during drinking sessions. However, when the alcohol intake gets cut off, the body metabolized nicotine at a reduced rate, and it helped people to control their craving for nicotine.

Several previous similar types of research have revealed that people will higher nicotine metabolism rate are more prone to smoke heavily when compared to their counterparts who have a reduced nicotine metabolism rate. Experts have previously found that drinking is a well-established catalyst for increased smoking, and smoking is a well-established risk factor for alcohol drinking.

The research report published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research also added that reducing nicotine metabolism rate by cutting off alcohol will provide an extra cutting edge for people who are trying hard to quit smoking.

"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," said Sarah Dermody, an assistant professor at Oregon State University and the lead author of the study, reports.

In the study, researchers included both men and women as participants. When men who used to have 29 drinks per week reduced their alcohol intake to 7, their nicotine metabolism rate reduced considerably. However, in women, no considerable reduction was observed in the nicotine metabolism rate. Interestingly, no women in the study reduced their drinking rate significantly during this period, and it might be the reason behind their stable nicotine metabolism rate.