Can Drinking Red Wine Counteract The Short-Term Effects Of Cigarette Smoking?

Attention social smokers: Do you want to indulge in an occasional stress cigarette, or light up at a party? If so, drinking a glass or two of red wine before you smoke could help counteract some of the negative effects of the nicotine and tar.

This may sound too good to be true, but according to a new report published in the American Journal of Medicine, drinking red wine immediately before smoking can counteract some of the cigarette's short-term negative effects on our blood vessels, reducing inflammation and slowing down cellular aging. The wine stimulates the production of nitric oxide and other so-called relaxation factors in the bloodstream, perhaps due to its phenol content, and slows the reduction of telomeres, which function as "protective caps" on our chromosomes.

Don't think this means that you can start chain-smoking if you drink enough wine. The participants in the study were 20 young non-smokers or social smokers who did not have a nicotine habit.

Lead investigator Viktoria Schwarz, MD, of the University of Saarland in Homburg, Germany, was quick to stress, however, that "sparse data exist on the short term potential vasoprotective effects of red wine in smoking-healthy individuals. The aim of our study was to investigate the acute vascular effects of red wine consumption prior to 'occasional lifestyle smoking' in healthy individuals. We found evidence that pre-consumption of red wine prevented most of the vascular injury caused by smoking."