Study: Smoking might increase your alcohol intake

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA, OSU-CCS Psychiatrist    alcohol and smokes (3)

Over 26 studies show (4) that smoking contributes to anxiety and depression and that you can feel good and increase happiness by quitting tobacco.
Students might also know about smoking cigarettes raising your risk of cancer, stroke, heart disease, breathing problems (1) and that quitting smoking can reduce these risks (2-3).
A recent study suggests smoking might increase your alcohol consumption (5-6).

What was the study?
In this animal study (5-6), rats were trained to press a bar to obtain alcohol and were exposed to nicotine or saline in different experimental designs.

What did the study show?
This study showed that, in alcohol-dependent animals, nicotine increased:
• The speed at which alcohol was ingested,
• The amount of work that animals would do to obtain alcohol (i.e., the number of times they would press a bar to get one dose), and
• The amount of drinking despite adverse consequences

What do the results suggest?
Quitting smoking might help you drink less or quit alcohol completely. Further study is needed.

How can I quit smoking?

Where can I learn more about alcohol?
How much is too much, Strategies for cutting down, quitting can be found here:

Take the OSU Free Anonymous Mental health Screen

Is smoking impacting your alcohol intake? Could you stand to feel better? Perform better academically? What other consequences are you experiencing from smoking or alcohol or both?

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

1. US Department of Health and Human Services. The health consequences of smoking: a
report of the Surgeon General. US Department of Health and Human Services, 2004.
2. US Department of Health and Human Services. The health benefits of smoking cessation.
US Department of Health and Human Services, 1990.
3. Pirie K, Peto R, Reeves G, Green J, Beral V. The 21st century hazards of smoking and
benefits of stopping: a prospective study of one million women in the UK. Lancet
4. Taylor G, et al. Change in mental health after smoking cessation: systematic review and meta-analysis. OPEN ACCESS. BMJ 2014;348:g1151 doi: 10.1136/bmj.g1151 (Published 13 February 2014).

5. Leão RM et al. Chronic nicotine activates stress/reward-related brain regions and facilitates the transition to compulsive alcohol drinking. J Neurosci 2015 Apr 15; 35:6241. (;
6. May 4, 2015. Want to Stop Drinking? Don’t Smoke. Steven Dubovsky MD reviewing Leão RM et al. J Neurosci 2015 Apr 15.