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.

How to stop smoking and drinking. Blond lady in a blue hood jacket, smoking a cigarette.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.

Most people start at a young age — might be due to peer pressure. Others use it as an escape when stressed or depressed.

The thing about smoking and drinking though is that you get addicted easily — making it very difficult to break these bad habits.

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
  •  Diseases

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.

  • Dependence

Smoking and drinking both cause addiction. In fact, smoking is the most common addiction worldwide while alcohol use even though more common is second in addiction frequency to smoking.

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.

  • Social withdrawal

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 addictions just won’t let you be this. The anxiety, depression, restlessness, frustration, stress you get from these addictions are antagonistic to your self-esteem.

  • Reduced lifespan

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.

 Longtime smokers and drinkers could lose up to 10 years of life expectancy

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 are products that provide you with nicotine which activate your nicotinic receptors, thereby reducing the urge for nicotine. Some common NRTs are gum, lozenges, mouth sprayand inhalers.

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.

Conclusion

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.


Dr Klas

Dr Klas aka Dr Emmanuel Adeniran is a medical doctor, a health educator, and a fitness enthusiast who has been into fitness for more than five years. He is willing to share his knowledge and experience with you.

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