If you're trying to quit smoking, you could also benefit from lowered alcohol consumption suggest a new study from England.
The link between smoking and drinking is poorly understood though it was believed smokers trying to quit would become increasingly dependent on alcohol as compensation. The current study by University College London researchers overturns previous findings, as it suggest recent efforts to quit smoking could be responsible for lowered drinking rates in England.
For their study, researchers used data from 6,287 people who identified themselves as smokers during household surveys conducted between March 2014 and September 2015. During the survey, 144 people reported attempts to quit smoking at least a week before the survey.
"Smokers who report starting a quit attempt in the last week also report lower alcohol consumption, including less frequent binge drinking, and appear more likely to report currently attempting to reduce their alcohol consumption compared with smokers who do not report a quit attempt in the last week," researchers concluded in the study published in BMC Public Health.
The research cannot adequately explain the connect between smoking and drinking but tentative theories put forth include concerns of relapse when attempting to quit smoking may drive a person to consume less alcohol.
Interestingly, it was also suggested that those who drink less are more likely to quit smoking. Consequently, heavy drinkers and those who binge drink alcohol may need additional help than 'light drinkers' to quit smoking. However, the data from the survey is yet to validate these theories.
"We can't yet determine the direction of causality. Further research is needed to disentangle whether attempts to quit smoking precede attempts to restrict alcohol consumption or vice versa. We'd also need to rule out other factors which make both more likely," lead author Jamie Brown reportedly said.