Quitting Smoking Significantly Reduces Risk of Alcohol Relapse

Marijuana Treatment for Substance Abuse

Written By: Lighthouse Editorial Team

Our editorial team includes content experts that contribute to Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s blog. Editors and medical experts review our blogs for accuracy and relevance. We consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA and NIDA to provide you with the most comprehensive addiction-related content.

Published on Apr 25, 2017 | Health and Wellness

Quitting Cigarettes Helps Prevent Alcohol Relapse

A new study published in Science Daily finds that alcoholics in recovery who smoke are at a greater risk for alcohol relapse than individuals in recovery who don’t smoke. Traditionally recovery has included therapy for all mind and mood-altering substances but left cigarettes out of the equation. Now scientists are finding verifiable evidence that ceasing nicotine abuse could be the secret that helps people stay sober, preventing alcohol relapse.

Many in Alcohol Abuse Recovery Smoke Cigarettes

Quitting Smoking Significantly Reduces Risk of Alcohol Relapse

Most adults who have problems with alcohol abuse also smoke cigarettes, most recovering alcoholics smoke as well. In the groups that smoke and are still actively using alcohol, the craving to smoke is much more intense once the alcohol hits their system. Many finding it difficult to drink without smoking. Once recovery is introduced those in recovery continue to keep smoking for fear of removing another substance from their daily routine. Local Alcoholics Anonymous meetings commonly have large crowds outside the meeting smoking cigarettes. In alcohol abuse recovery smoking has created a bond between members and is used since it does not get the user high. Since the study has been released many fearing alcohol relapse are beginning to attempt to quit smoking, which many find much more difficult than putting down the drink.

Quitting Smoking Improves Health and Prevents Alcohol Relapse

“Quitting smoking will improve anyone’s health,” says Renee Goodwin, Ph.D., 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 could prevent alcohol relapse.” Researchers involved in the study followed 34,653 adults in alcohol abuse recovery. They were assessed at two intervals, three years apart from each other. In the study daily smokers were found two-times more likely to suffer an alcohol relapse compared with nonsmokers.

The Link Between Alcohol Abuse and Smoking Is Hard to Break

Behavioral and neurochemical links between smoking and alcohol are cited as potential causes for the link between smoking and alcohol relapse. For many in alcohol recovery, their drinking and cigarette use began at the same time. This would cause a psychological link between the two that could take years to break. Alcoholics who stray away from their treatment plans and 12-step groups and continue to smoke lose the influence of the recovery community and can be pulled towards alcohol relapse by the internal link of cigarettes and alcohol. Many in recovery groups caution people to not quit to many things at once and use thing mantra as a reason to continue nicotine use. Now science has provided unequivocal proof that smoking should be discontinued at the same time as drinking to decrease the risk of alcohol relapse. For those who looking to apply the 12 steps of AA to nicotine, there are Nicotine Anonymous groups with many meetings available in most cities across the US.

Cite This Article
Lighthouse Editorial Team. "Quitting Smoking Significantly Reduces Risk of Alcohol Relapse." Lighthouse Recovery Institute., Published on Apr 25, 2017, https://lighthouserecoveryinstitute.com/quitting-smoking-significantly-reduces-risk-alcohol-relapse/.

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