Science Explains Why You Only Like To Smoke Cigarettes When You Drink

by Alexandra Strickler

If you ask people today how they feel about smoking cigarettes, most will tell you it just isn't cool anymore.

So, despite our society taking several steps backward in recent years (re: that orange creature who lives in the White House), we've at least managed to get the memo on how bad smoking really is for your health.

Except, we still have a few stragglers on that front.

If you've ever been to a party, you know who these people are. They're the ones always asking other people if they can "bum a cig," because they don't actually consider themselves to be legitimate smokers.

They're the "casual" smokers who would never go out and buy a pack for themselves, yet every time you see them at a social gathering (particularly when alcohol is involved), there they are, puffing away on a cancer stick, like it's NBD.

I hate to burst your bubble, casual smokers, but puffing is kind of a big deal.

A new study focused on young adult smokers, between the ages of 18 and 25.

The researchers found participants tended to derive more pleasure from smoking a cigarette when drinking alcohol, compared with smoking a cigarette when also smoking pot.

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Now, to me, these findings inherently make sense.

In my own experience, I've seen plenty of people at parties dangling a cigarette in one hand and precariously holding a red solo cup in the other.

On the other hand, you don't ever really see people double-fisting a cigarette and a joint, a bowl, or literally any other pot-smoking device.

I think we've all heard the excuse, "I only smoke when I drink," more times than we've ever cared to.

According to another study, the declared "social smokers" light one up when they drink because they desire a stimulant effect (which nicotine provides) to combat the drowsy feeling that alcohol often causes.

But, just because science has now kind of confirmed how good it feels to smoke a cig while sipping a beer, and how it keeps you from feeling drowsy, that still doesn't make it OK.

The researchers concluded in their study on the pleasures of combining alcohol and cigarettes,

Targeting the increased pleasure from smoking cigarettes when drinking alcohol could enhance effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions among young adults.

The authors also hope future studies in this area will explore what people think will happen, or how they expect to feel, when pairing cigarettes and alcohol together.

Citations: Smoking Isn't Cool Anymore: The Success and Continuing Challenge of Public Health Efforts to Reduce Smoking (National Center for Biotechnology Information), Why Some Young People Combine Smoking And Drinking (The Huffington Post), Cigarettes And Alcohol: Science Finally Figures Out Why We Like To Smoke When We Drink (Medical Daily), Young adults report increased pleasure from smoking cigarettes when drinking alcohol but not when using marijuana (Addiction Research & Theory)