Research has shown that people who smoke often drink more frequently and more heavily. Cigarettes and alcohol enhance the effects of each other, and according to an article from Medical News Today –
“Smoking and drinking are strongly linked for a host of reasons including complementary pharmacologic effects, shared neuronal pathways, shared genetic associations, common environmental factors, and learned associations,” added Christopher W. Kahler, professor and chair of the department of behavioral and social sciences at Brown School of Public Health. “However, it is possible to intervene through behavioral treatments, pharmacotherapy, and policy to affect both behaviors in a positive way.”
Researchers gathered data through through personal interviews with 21,473 alcohol consumers as part the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, which was a survey conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. And what they found was –
“We hypothesized that the public health benefits of cigarette taxes would extend beyond smoking to reduce alcohol consumption,” said McKee. “Results suggest that increases in cigarette taxes were associated with reductions in alcohol consumption over time among male smokers. The protective effects were most pronounced among subgroups who are most at risk for adverse alcohol-related consequences, including male heavy drinkers, young adults, and those with the lowest income.”
It’s an interesting association, but do we need more taxes? Will it make that much of a difference in the number of people who drink? According to Kelly Young-Wolff, post-doctoral research fellow at Stanford Prevention Research Center –
“Results from our study can pave the way for a productive line of future research aimed at reducing secondary public health harms such as alcohol-related violence, drunk driving, and alcohol-related morbidity and mortality.”
This conclusion may make it worth a try in the eyes of policy makers and researchers.