Why do you want to smoke when drinking?

Do you find yourself turning from ripple-total to a social smoker the second that first drop of alcohol touches your lips? You are definitely not alone! Nicotine and booze often seem like a match made in heaven as they both help produce dopamine - aka the feel-good chemical that gets your spirits up. 


With both nicotine and alcohol essentially being social stimulants, it’s easy to get carried away and over-indulge on a boozy night out. However, scientists (obviously) advise against it. According to research published by The Independent, people often mix nicotine when drinking to help enhance ‘recreational or pleasurable sensations’. Additionally, it’s been proven that nicotine counteracts alcohol-induced dizziness & sleepiness, which is why you’re more likely to chain smoke when there’s drinking involved!


If you’re in the process of quitting nicotine, a few drinks can be hugely detrimental to your determination. Not only does alcohol diminish inhibitions (cue ‘you up?’ texts and drunken SWIPE RIGHTs), BUT, it also enhances the brain’s craving for other substances. Add in being surrounded by groups of smokers, and you’ll very likely find yourself on the edge of a nicotine relapse. For many people, alcohol consumption is an instant trigger, especially if there has been a previous connection between drinking & nicotine (let’s face it - most of us have unfortunately been there).



It has been proven that nicotine actually changes the way your brain reacts to alcohol; recent findings indicate that nicotine may actually reduce blood alcohol concentrations. The end game? You’ll very likely end up drinking more if there is nicotine involved.  To add in a bit of extra motivation for you, it is believed that smoking can even make hangovers worse; cigarette smoke contains acetaldehyde, a chemical which is also contained in alcohol. The two together are a gateway to morning headaches and nasty hangover symptoms. 

 

When it comes to the less social butterflies out there, smoking and drinking simultaneously can majorly up human interaction - think smoking area chats, asking strangers for a lighter and bonding with new people over unhealthy habits. It’s pretty common knowledge that both of them are highly addictive and have long-ranging health consequences, but for regular users, they are often categorised as ‘guilty pleasures’. With alcohol pushing rational thinking to an all-time-low, you’re more likely to be swayed by the offer of a cigarette when you’re few drinks in.



Whilst drinking heavily contributes to the urge to smoke, don’t panic - the aim here isn’t to banish you from going out for the occasional drink - we’re not like that. But, with a bit of self control and a ripple at the ready, you might be able to say no to that drunken cigarette a stranger offers you in a bar a few drinks down the line.