It is not uncommon to see a multitasking American with a wineglass in one hand and a cigarette in the other. In fact, alcoholics are three to five times more likely to smoke chronically than the average citizen. Until recently though, smoking was viewed as an entirely separate problem that happens to frequently appear with alcohol. Now, there are strong indications that there may be a synergistic effect linking the two addictions.
A study in the June 2007 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, conducted by Dr. Timothy Durazzo and fellow researchers at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center, compared alcohol recovery patients who smoked to those who did not. After nine months, it was clear that, though both groups had improved mental functioning, the non-smokers made much more significant recoveries. They performed better on tests of cognitive efficiency, executive skills, visuospatial skills, and working memory.
With impeded alcohol recovery now added to the deadly health consequences of smoking, the case for quitting has grown even stronger. Recovering alcoholics should seriously consider quitting both habits at the same time if they want to see maximum results. Giving up so many vices at once might be hard, but once you have a clear head you will know you made the right decision.