People who try to quit smoking cigarettes can get another benefit from kicking the habit. Findings of a new study have revealed that quitting the smoking habit is also linked to lowered alcohol consumption.
In a new research published in the journal BMC Public Health on July 22, Jamie Brown, from the University College London, looked at the data of 6,287 people, 144 of whom reported that they have attempted to quit smoking at least one week before they were surveyed.
The researchers found that those who attempted to quit smoking wanted to cut down on their alcohol consumption as well. They also tend to drink less alcohol and had lesser tendency to binge drink compared with those who did not try to quit tobacco use.
"Smokers who report a recent attempt to stop are more likely to report lower-risk alcohol consumption, including less frequent binge drinking, after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics," Brown and colleagues wrote in their study.
"Among smokers with higher-risk alcohol consumption, those who report a last week attempt to stop are more likely to report also a current attempt to cut down on their drinking."
There are no clear reasons behind the link. Researchers think that smokers may drink less when trying to quit smoking to lower the likelihood for relapse.
It was earlier believed that smokers who try to quit compensate by becoming increasingly dependent on alcohol, but the findings suggest that people may be heeding advice to avoid alcohol because of its relapse link, the researchers said.
It is also possible that those who consume less alcohol are more likely to quit smoking. If this is the case, the researchers said that smokers who are also heavy drinkers may need more help to quit smoking.
The study suggests that recent attempts to quit smoking could be the reason behind lowered drinking rates in England, where the survey was conducted.
Figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that smoking is responsible for more than 5 million deaths worldwide per year. The unhealthy habit, which is already known for its link to respiratory diseases and cancer, has recently been linked to higher risk for potentially fatal strokes caused by bleeding inside the brain's lining.
In 2012, nearly 6 percent of all global deaths were attributable to alcohol consumption.
Harmful use of alcohol has been linked to a range of diseases such as liver cirrhosis and cancers. It also increases risk for injury and road accidents.