December 8, 2012

Booze + Cigarettes = Bad Health

On December 5, 2012, redOrbit reported about the connection and effects of drinking alcohol and smoking. What the article focused on is the hangover. Accordingly, research from Brown University found that individuals who drink alcohol and smoke find themselves suffering from a hangover more often. And this alcohol- and smoke-induced hangover will likely be more intense.

As redOrbit’s article notes, many people feel the pull to smoke especially when drinking heavily (4-6 beers in an hour). Apparently, sectors of the brain are triggered when drinking and smoking that release the feel-good chemical, dopamine, which means that people think they feel good when drinking and smoking.

The truth of the matter, though, is that these individuals are setting themselves up for intense pain and discomfort the next day, more so than their non-smoking counterparts. Naturally, smoking is not something I condone because it is so seriously bad for our health. Now, as I write that I feel I must confess that I have smoked before albeit not as a full-time, real smoker, only as a social, part-time, occasional smoker. I understand the draw and enjoyment. However, those do not supplant the serious health issues smoking causes. And now, research shows that smoking makes hangovers worse.

And nothing is worse than a hangover…except a more intense hangover. If smoking makes the hangover worse, then this is just further support to convince smokers not to smoke. I do not, and never did, understand smokers who smoked daily. It just seemed like it would hurt. Smoking was a social thing for me. That is, until I started noticing the side effects including terrible hangovers even when all I had had to drink the previous night was one beer. Then I quit even smoking socially. It was easy because I made the choice for health. I’ve long been done with smoking, and this article just supports that for me.

Our health is so important, and so fragile. This report supports just that. Though it has been long since I lit up, reports like this just remind me more and more why smoking is so incredibly terrible. Of course, drinking to excess is not that much better. In fact, the repercussions of this are liver damage, heart damage, and so much more. Neither smoking nor excessive drinking are worth the health issues. We can always change our lives and change our health. All we have to do is commit to our own health.

Sometimes those changes are not easy. Often, they require help from our family, friends, and even doctors in severe cases. I cannot express how important committing to our own health is for us. I know. I did it. It did take life experiences to convince me to be healthy. It took my dad’s death, primarily due to Type-2 diabetes, to make me start watching what and how I eat. It took noticing my own health issues to make me not smoke, even part-time as a social smoker. I do not want you, dear readers, to have to experience either of those before you start down your own path to health. Learn from redOrbit’s reports, my blogs, and the research that shows why healthy choices are so important.

Image Credit: grynold / Shutterstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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