|No fair: Women who drink and smoke run even greater risks than men do.|
The study confirmed that the mortality rates for smokers is anywhere from 1.5 to three times higher than for people who never smoked.
The risk naturally went up depending on how much the person drank and smoked: if the death risk was a “1” for people who never smoked, this risk rose to 1.38 for men who smoked one to 15 cigarettes a day, 1.86 for those who smoked 16 to 26 cigarettes, and 2.44 for men who smoked more than 26 cigarettes a day.
For women, the study found the equivalent risks were similar: 1.32, 2.04 and 2.44 respectively.
But the risks changed dramatically when alcohol was thrown into the mix.
The study found that the death risk rose to a massive 3.88 among women who smoked more than 26 cigarettes and drank more than 30 grams of alcohol a day.
In other words, women run nearly four times the risk of early death when they drink and smoke heavily.
“Women who consume excessive amounts of alcohol have a significantly higher risk from tobacco use than those who consume little or no alcohol," the authors concluded.
What’s Worse? Smoking or Drinking?
So if you had to choose between smoking or drinking, which one should you choose? Which one is worse?
There’s absolutely no doubt about it. Smoking carries a much higher risk of lung cancer (30 times that of a non-smoker), breast cancer (up to 60 percent higher risk) and early death.
Keep in mind that drinking can increase the urge to smoke (some call it "social smoking"), and vice-versa: smoking can make you want to drink more.
Taken together, these two addictions work hand-in-hand, causing women to smoke and drink more than they should.
It’s double-trouble. And it adds up to more than double the risk of a not-so-happy ending.
If that isn’t a buzzkill, I don’t know what is.
*This study was published in May in the journal Bulletin epidemiologique hebdomadaire (BEH)