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The Combined Effects Of Cigarettes And Alcohol On The Human Body - With A Free Essay Review

The dangers of cigarettes and alcohol are broadcast widely, but predominately ignored by modern society. It is known that alcohol is a depressant when acting upon a person, but the active ingredient in a cigarette, nicotine, can be either a stimulant or a depressant depending on how it is used. For the purpose of this essay, it is a powerful depressant because many co-users of these drugs chain smoke, inhaling in large quantities slowly, producing the depressant effect. Both of these products are available legally once someone reaches a certain age, but legality does not guarantee a product is safe for the human body. In the throes of addiction many alcoholics seek other drugs, such as nicotine, to supplement there dependance on alcohol. Due to the combined effects of alcohol (a depressant) and nicotine (acting as both a stimulant and depressant) on the body, recovering alcoholics should also quit smoking.

The alcoholic

Many people view alcohol with acceptance, when it is consumed with constraint. But, when alcohol is misused, it leads to many dangers. About 28% of American adults misuse alcohol, causing alcohol dependence and alcohol-related problems("Alcoholism and alcohol," 2011). Alcohol-dependent people can not function normally without it, the body's homeostasis becomes reliant on the liquid. A severe alcoholic may even risk seizures if they sustain from consuming it for too long of a period.

An alcoholic can seek help from many programs, including in patient and out patient rehabilitation in a hospital setting, but the most popular choice in the recovering community is Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous is a twelve step program based around a higher power, most commonly the Christian God. Many people have reported that through practicing the program's twelve steps, they are now able to conquer other difficulties of life as well(Twelve steps, 2010).

Recovering and replacing

A recovering alcoholic is a success story in the making, unfortunately many people fighting their addiction simply replace their beverage of choice with nicotine, if they had not already began smoking while under the influence of alcohol. The rates of smoking cigarettes among recovering alcoholics is three times that of the national average (T., 2011). This is seen because on average, compared with smokers who do not use other mind altering substances, alcoholic smokers are more reliant on nicotine to meet their physical and emotional needs (Gulliver, 2006).

This can affect the alcoholic's recovery success because “In short, prolonged and excessive use of alcohol consumption is bad for your brain, but a combination of alcohol with smoking is worse(alcoholism: Clinical).” The combination with smoking hinders with the brain’s ability to repair itself from alcohol abuse. This helps compel the need for alcohol rehabilitation patients should have the option of a smoking cessation program (alcoholism: Clinical).


Research indicates that alcoholics are at greater risk for the negative health effects of smoking than other smokers (T., 2011). These effects include cardiovascular problems and cancer, the combination of alcohol and nicotine dependency increases the likelihood of these issues by fifty percent of their individual probability (Berggren, Berglund, Fahlke, Aronsson, Eriksson & Balldin, 2007). A smoker with a previous alcohol-dependent background, who's body was damaged by the misuse, will suffer more easily from the effects of nicotine as well.

Anything that turns on the reward pathway in the brain addictive, which is why alcohol and nicotine are so difficult to remove from the body. Addicts simply do not want to give up what makes them feel good, and on average these smokers may believe more strongly in the perceived benefits of tobacco use(Gulliver, 2006). Unfortunately, this pleasure comes at a steep cost, the health and safety of the addict and those around them.

Smoking cessation

The alcoholic met their need for an oral fixation with the inhalation of cigarette smoke, and it does much more harm than good. Unfortunately, treatment for tobacco dependence is not routinely included in alcohol treatment programs. Many recovering addicts facing this task need help, whether from a program, medications, or family support; but if someone is willing to attempt this challenge it is important to plan ahead and understand that cravings are short lived(Hyde & Setaro, M.D., 2006). As with any addiction, distraction is the key to recovery. The alcoholic smoker replaced drinking with inhaling and now faces the challenge again. A good strategy is picking up a time consuming hobby that can be taken anywhere, such as knitting.


A person's health should be their highest concern, and substance abuse should be the last thing on their mind. Yet, all too often, the next fix is the most important priority in someone's life. 21.7 percent of adults in the United States use both alcohol and tobacco, regardless of the facts that are taught to young citizens repeatedly(Falk, Hsiao-Ye, & Hiller-Sturmhöfel, 2006). As we know, the co-use of these products causes a 50 percent increase in the likelihood of suffering major issues. In the end, it comes down to the basic facts that alcohol and nicotine are dangerous to consume and that is why a recovering alcoholic should also quit smoking.



After reading your essay, a couple of questions remain for me that I think your essay ought to answer: Will the attempt to give up smoking increase the likelihood of a recovering alcoholic taking a drink? If there is such a risk, is it a risk worth taking given the nature of the impact of cigarette smoking on health? (Presumably the answer to the latter question depends on how great a threat alcohol consumption poses in an individual case). If the sources that you've researched don't answer these questions, you can still raise them just as questions that need to be answered in your essay.

Those questions, it seems to me, are especially important to raise given the relatively strong conclusion at which you arrive. I understand that in general it is obvious that those who smoke should quit, but it's not quite so obvious in the case of recovering alcoholics if it is true that smoking helps the alcoholic recover from his addiction to alcohol. You say, in fact, and to the contrary, that "this [smoking?] can affect the alcoholic's recovery success" but you don't explain why you think that, which is to say that the quotation you then append doesn't explain why smoking has such an impact on recovery. (By the way, you should specify what the "this" refers to here and in a number of other places where you use the word "this" vaguely; as a rule of thumb, "this" should be accompanied by a substantive [noun, noun phrase]).

Now elsewhere in the essay you make the claim that "alcohol rehabilitation patients should have the option of a smoking cessation program" (note that the syntax of the sentence from which this claim is quoted is a bit garbled; the sentence should be revised). I'm not sure what kind of reader you imagine for an essay such as this, but it seems to me to be an essay more likely to be addressed to medical professionals or students of medicine than to alcoholics, in which case, the concrete proposal (let's offer a smoking cessation program as part of rehabilitation) seems to me a better overall argument than the general advice (Hey, alcoholics! You should stop smoking too). Of course, those who treat alcoholics may also want an answer to the question, "Should alcoholics stop smoking while in the recovery process?" If you set your essay up to answer that question, then it would be appropriate to conclude the essay with that general claim, although you might make the point differently (something like "Those who treat alcoholics should advise them to quit smoking"). In fact, you could conclude with a broader proposal that picks up on the earlier claim ("Those who treat alcoholics should advise them to quit smoking and rehabilitation centers should offer a smoking cessation program, and ...?").

If you broaden the proposal in this way and answer the questions I mentioned above, you should have an argument that is both stronger and, in terms of its purpose, clearer. I wanted also to say something about the introduction, but I really need to go have a smoke. Just note, though, that the middle of the introductory paragraph is handled a bit clumsily ("For the purposes of this essay, etc...") and those sentences are not obviously necessary given what you actually go on to argue.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: Desa

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