Study Finds Connection Between Binge Drinking and Smoking

A new study confirms the relationship between higher cigarette prices and dangerous drinking behaviors

Everyone has received the talk at some point: don’t drink and don’t smoke. The statements usually come intertwined, which seems to reflect our habits surrounding the two activities. Now, a recent study shows news that the tax increases on cigarettes haven’t done anything to prevent us from smoking and drinking at the same time. In fact, higher cigarette prices increase how much we drink and smoke.

This strange relationship actually makes sense: The increased cigarette prices force people to turn to alcohol instead of smoking to unwind, which would cause the amount people drinking to rise. As people consume more and lose their inhibitions, they are more willing to spend 11 bucks on cigarettes. Thus, the cycle continues.

The study focused on the habits of young people; though twenty-somethings were more likely to binge drink while smoke than the 65-plus age group was, it’s not only young people who are engaging in this behavior. Interestingly, the only age group that seemed to be divorced from this relationship was those aged 30 to 65, who showing reduced smoking rates.

While this study certainly isn’t the end of the story, it brings about questions whether the government could — or should — be regulating harmful substances. Is it really the taxes that are driving up consumption, or is it another factor? Could it just be that smoking and drinking together is appealing to some? It’s an interesting conundrum and one to watch out for the next time you hit the bar.