This may be great smoking cessation advice: reducing alcohol consumption could help individuals quit their daily smoking habit.
New research has found that heavy drinkers who are trying to stop smoking may find that reducing their alcohol consumption can also help them quit their regular smoking habit. Researchers have discovered that heavy drinkers’ nicotine metabolite ratio – a biomarker that indicates how quickly an individual’s body metabolizes nicotine – reduced as they cut back on their drinking. Although this isn’t necessarily new smoking cessation advice, slowing a person’s nicotine metabolism rate through reduced drinking could provide an edge for those trying to stop smoking.
The smoking cessation advice you all need to hear again
Past research has suggested that people with higher nicotine metabolism ratios are likely to smoke more and that people with higher rates have a harder time quitting.
Sarah Dermody, an assistant professor at Oregon State University, USA, and the study’s lead author explains: “It takes a lot of determination to quit smoking, often several attempts.”
“This research suggests that drinking is changing the nicotine metabolism as indexed by the nicotine metabolite ratio, and that daily smoking and heavy drinking may best be treated together.”
Use of both alcohol and cigarettes is widespread, with nearly 1 in 5 adults using both. Cigarette use is especially prevalent in heavy drinkers. Drinking is a well-established risk factor for smoking, and smoking is well-established risk factor for drinking.
“What’s really interesting is that the nicotine metabolite ratio is clinically useful.” Dermody said.
“People with a higher ratio have a harder time quitting smoking cold turkey. They are also less likely to successfully quit using nicotine replacement therapy products.”
The researchers found that as the men in the study group reduced their drinking, their nicotine metabolite rate dropped. Whereas the women in the study did not see reductions in their nicotine metabolite ratio, but the researchers also did not find that the women in the study reduced their drinking significantly during the study period.
“The rate of drinking for women in the study started low and stayed low,” Dermody said. “I anticipate that in a larger generalized study we would not see the difference between men and women like that.”