Admit it: You've probably found yourself at a party, about three Moscow mules deep, and suddenly having a cigarette (or two) seems like a great idea -- even if you aren't “normally” a smoker. And for whatever reason, it feels unusually satisfying, and doesn't make you cough the way you would if you took a sober drag in the light of day. Still, I'm sure you've probably wondered what that occasional drunk cigarette is actually doing to your body in the long-run.
It can't be that bad -- right?
Eh, actually, it kind of can.
I hate to be the bearer of the same bad news you've been hearing for years now, but smoking is still, when you get down to it, never a good idea.
Elite Daily spoke with lung specialist Dr. Nathan Lott, DO, who provides a little extra insight on what exactly is going on in the body of a "one-night-only" smoker.
The effects of cigarettes in general are that they produce a noxious gas, and that gas causes the lungs to react. Maybe a single one doesn't cause major lasting damage, but they are like potato chips. Most people don't have just one.
Usually the habit of smoking is born from doing it socially -- it's one, then three, or four. And what's happening over time is that lungs produce more mucus to protect the lining of the lungs where air travels through. Eventually, that's what leads to smoker's cough.
He's right, though. According to research from the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, while occasional smoking isn't as bad for you as a regular smoking habit, it's still a damaging, and totally unnecessary health risk.
And, as Dr. Lott emphasizes, the effects of a couple of cigarettes here and there still add up over time.
Light and intermittent smoking can still cause, for example, an increased risk of cancer and heart disease.
Oh, and if that's not bad enough, you can go ahead and add these to the list, too: potential respiratory tract infections, delayed conception, poorer sperm function, cataracts, slower recovery in torn cartilage, and high blood pressure.
Of course, no one wants to increase their risk of developing all these different health conditions, but the appeal of a drunk cigarette is still intoxicating in more ways than one -- I get that.
In fact, there's actually some science behind that whole idea. Research has demonstrated a correlation between the stimulant effect of nicotine in a cigarette and the depressant effect of alcohol. Basically, the nicotine counteracts the sleepiness you might feel after a few drinks, and can even enhance the feel-good effects of alcohol.
But are those few drags and momentary highs really worth the risk of potentially suffering so many different health issues down the road?
Even if that's not enough to convince you, what about that smoker's breath, huh?
Nobody likes to swap spit with an ashtray, amirite?