The results of a new study on smoking and drinking have been released by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. The survey set out to determine if there was a link between smoking and long-term drinking problems.

As it turns out, it appears that there is a connection. Researchers found that adult smokers who have a history with serious drinking problems were more likely to relapse three years after giving up alcohol if they continued to smoke on a daily basis. This means that for those adults who gave up alcohol and cigarettes, there was a higher chance of remaining sober than those who only gave up alcohol.

For the study, the team at Columbia University followed more than 34,650 adults who were enrolled in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), and who had experienced a disorder relating to alcohol in the past. They were then assessed twice, three years apart. The results showed that those who smoked daily were twice as likely to relapse into alcohol abuse compared with non-smokers, although the study noted that it was unclear exactly why this was the case.

Researchers were already aware that many adults who have alcohol problems are also those who smoke cigarettes, and up until now, the generally accepted methods of stopping alcohol abuse have not traditionally included the suggestion to also stop smoking. Naturally, giving up both at once may seem like a far greater task than quitting just one of them, which is often why people won’t want to quit both at once.

As vaping and electronic cigarettes are becoming accepted as one potential form of smoking cessation, this may be a new avenue for those with alcohol and cigarette habits to explore.