Both tobacco and alcohol are highly addictive and have long-ranging health consequences. The effects of mixing tobacco and alcohol may include a shortened life span, interpersonal problems and respiratory problems.
This is because both substances can be dangerous on their own and because tobacco is a mild stimulant, while alcohol is a depressant. Both tobacco and alcohol are legal and widely available, making them easier for people to abuse.
What is tobacco and what does it do to the body?
Tobacco is a plant-based drug that contains nicotine, which is the addictive substance in cigarettes. Cigarettes contain much more than just nicotine. They also include tar, preservatives, and chemicals that are carcinogens, carcinogens that cause cancer.
When you smoke a cigarette, the nicotine constricts the blood vessels in the body, causing your blood pressure to become higher. High blood pressure can lead to strokes. Nicotine increases the heart rate and stimulates the nervous system.
What does alcohol do to the body?
Alcohol which is a depressant, slows the functioning of the mind and the body. This is because it decreases the activity between the brain’s neurons, which control all of the body’s functions. Even a small amount of alcohol can cause side effects such as feeling dizziness, giddiness, and sleepiness.
Moderate drinking is defined by the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) as anything over one drink per day for women and adults over the age of 65 and more than two drinks per day for men under 65. Drinking more than a moderate quantity can result in nausea, vomiting, trouble sleeping, and poor judgment.
What are the short-term effects of mixing alcohol and tobacco?
The short-term effects of mixing alcohol and tobacco are subtle; it is common for people to drink and smoke at the same time. The primary danger from drinking and smoking simultaneously is that, because one drug is a depressant and the other one is a stimulant, you may not realise how much the alcohol is affecting you. This can cause you to drink more than you should because you don’t feel drunk. Incorrectly assessing your level of inebriation can lead to poor judgment.
What are the long-term effects of mixing alcohol and tobacco?
The long-term effects of mixing alcohol and tobacco are still being studied, but initial tests show that mixing the two drugs can have long-ranging and serious health consequences. Studies have shown that smoking and drinking together can also increase the risk of throat and oesophageal cancer.
This may be because the alcohol dissolves chemicals in the cigarette while they are still in the throat. This can cause carcinogens to become trapped against the sensitive tissues of the throat. Furthermore, drinking alcohol and smoking at the same time affects how quickly the body can metabolise both drugs.
This means that the carcinogens from cigarettes stay in the bloodstream for longer. Longer exposure to carcinogens means an increased risk to cancer.
While both smoking and alcohol and have become more social over the years, they are both harmful when consumed on their own, deadly when mixed together. But until our attitudes change towards how we regard alcohol and tobacco, we will continue to fall pray to its side-effects and our health will continue to struggle.
In the long term of course, both are addictive, or singularly addictive when used on their own. Consuming either for long periods, means we will either set ourselves up for ill-health, or potentially an early death.