Smoking and drinking are two common bad habits that go hand-in-hand. If you engage in one, you’re like to engage in the other.
Past research shows that more than 85 per cent of US adults who are dependent on alcohol are also dependent on nicotine.
Most people that smoke and drink actually know it’s bad — some just don’t know how to stop, some do but can’t for a reason or the other.
It’s usually common that people start one of these habits or both at a young age and with time as they grow older, they stop, while others are unable to stop and it becomes an addiction.
This article isn’t meant for those that engage in these habits occasionally or once in a blue moon. It’s for addicts — people who can’t do without smoking and drinking. It’s also worthy of note that no level of alcohol is safe.
Smoking and drinking can be a hindrance to living a healthy lifestyle.
If you don’t engage in these habits, then you might want to know and advise people who do and to discourage you as well.
NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF SMOKING AND DRINKING ON HEALTH
You probably know smoking and drinking are predisposing factors to a long list of diseases; high blood pressure, heart diseases, lung diseases, liver diseases, brain diseases, infections, cancers but to mention a few. The negative effects of drinking and smoking on health can’t be overemphasized.
Moreover, they both predispose to stress — which accounts for more than 70% of diseases.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 7 million deaths each year are attributed to alcohol and nicotine use.
In fact, most governments have policies and laws to reduce smoking and drinking in the population — to reduce the mortality rate caused by these two bad habits.
You can easily get addicted to these two habits. What makes a cigarette more addictive? It turns out, you get addicted to nicotine.
The nicotine triggers nicotinic receptors in the brain, which releases the “feel good” hormone dopamine. The reaction soon fades which makes you eager for more.
The addiction caused by smoking and drinking can lead to social withdrawal.
Nicotine withdrawal — which is when you don’t’ smoke and no nicotinic receptors are triggered. This can lead to unpleasant physical and psychological side effects such as intense cravings for nicotine, anxiety, depression, weight gains, headaches, trouble sleeping restlessness, and frustration.
Same is true for alcohol withdrawal.
This is known as the withdrawal effect.
This makes a person crave the addiction so much they misbehave and withdraw themselves from normal human interaction, thereby isolating themselves.
Lack of self-esteem
Having high self-esteem means you’re confident, reliable, trustworthy.
Smoking and drinking are bad habits that reduce your life expectancy.
According to new research, drinking a pint of beer may lower your life expectancy by the same amount as smoking a cigarette.
In some cases, smokers and drinkers might live long. But why is that? It seems these people have better genetics and tolerance than others.
Smoking and drinking are risk factors, not causative agents of diseases. Also, most diseases are a result of several risk factors and an individual who smokes and drinks might not be predisposed to these other risk factors or is just tolerant of them.
5 TIPS TO STOP SMOKING AND DRINKING
Curing smoking and drinking addiction might be difficult but it is possible. You shouldn’t feel bad if you’re an addict. Just admit it to yourself and work towards curing your addiction. Remember health is wealth.
#1. Stop one first and then the other
It’s far easier to say you want to stop smoking and drinking altogether than it is to actually stop. This is because the two goes together.
A new study in rats finds that nicotine cancels out the sleep-inducing effects of alcohol.
So you can just stop one and the tendency of doing the other reduces drastically.
Also reducing one will reduce the other. You can use this knowledge to slowly reduce both and with time you realize you aren’t triggered to engage in smoking and drinking. Read how to break free from addiction here.
#2. Don’t hang around people and place who engage in it
It might be really difficult to stop smoking and drinking if you hang around those who do.
Some people I talked to that smoke and drink tell me they only smoke when they drink and usually this is at bars and clubs. If you don’t want to smoke and drink, then you should consider not going to bars and clubs. Majority of people that go smoke and drink.
If you’re in doubt, find other engaging activities to do to replace going to bars and clubs. For example is going to salsa parties, cinemas, theatre performances etc. People who usually visit these venues don’t smoke and drink on the average when compared with people who go to bars and clubs.
If you can’t do without going to bars and clubs for some reasons best known to you, then substituting alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic beverages. Read tip #5.
#3. Try Nicotine Replacement Products
These products give a fast burst of nicotine that can help get past short, strong cravings. Patches provide a slow, steady level of nicotine over a long period.
You can find these at a local pharmacy.
#4. Find other ways to relax when stressed
When stressed, instead of lightening up a cigarette or taking a glass of wine consider other things you can do. Try doing fitness, going for a walk, talking to someone, reading a book, cooking, watching a movie. Do whatever that will distract you from the urge to smoke or drink. Read How to Cope With and Manage Stress.
#5. Substitute alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks
If you feel the urge to have a cup in your hand or drink, then you might want to try non-alcoholic beverages; non-alcoholic wine, alcohol-free beers, lime with water.
This will give you the feeling of drinking without the alcohol and getting high.
If you really crave getting high, there are other healthy ways of high without drugs and alcohol e.g. meditation, sex, big success.
Stopping smoking and drinking might be difficult but with time you soon realize it’s possible to stop if you want to. A lot of people have done this and you can do it too and enjoy the benefits of good health.