Research suggests if a person is a recovering alcoholic, they are more prone to relapse if they are also smokers. The findings come from researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and the City University of New York.
It has been found that those with alcohol dependencies are more likely to be smokers as well. Typically, in programs which treat alcohol addiction, there is concurrent treatment for the use of illicit drugs. Unfortunately, tobacco smoking is never treated. Lead author, Renee Goodwin, suggests that in clinical settings it is deemed “too difficult” to treat nicotine addiction along with alcohol addiction, and they believe nicotine dependence would not make a large difference in the long run.
Goodwin said, “Quitting smoking will improve anyone’s 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.”
To conduct their study, researchers followed 34,653 recovering alcoholics who enrolled in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Participants were assessed twice, three years apart, on substance abuse. Smokers – daily and non-daily – were twice as likely to relapse during their alcohol recovery compared to non-smokers.
Although it is unclear as to why smoking increased the risk of an alcohol relapse, previous research did reveal the impact smoking can have on cognition.
The findings were published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.