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Why do we have the urge to smoke when we drink?

DNW

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I usually don't have the urge to smoke. But, after a couple of drinks, I really want to go and lit a cig. Why is that?

I'm trying to kill this habit, as I suck serious wind when I go for a run the next day.
 

Edward Appleby

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My smoker friends and I have ruminated over this for some time. Best guess we can come up with is that perhaps your body, looking to restore equilibrium so to speak, craves the stimulant effects of nicotine to balance out the sedative effects of alcohol.
 

Kas

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I don't smoke (hooray for smoking ban!) but I'm a bartender which should tell you enough about my drinking habits. I've never had the urge to light a cig.
 

Edward Appleby

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Originally Posted by Kas
I don't smoke (hooray for smoking ban!) but I'm a bartender which should tell you enough about my drinking habits. I've never had the urge to light a cig.

Well duh dude, you have to know what you're missing in order to crave it.
 

Edward Appleby

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Originally Posted by Milhouse
context and state dependent learning

But what if you started smoking in non-drinking contexts?
 

Brian278

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For some people, because it reduces their inhibitions (guilt) over an unhealthy behavior.
 

Milhouse

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Even if you started smoking in non-drinking contexts, particularly with highly addictive substances like nicotine, you will learn in state and context dependent ways.

So, for lots of former smokers, the tough times are drinking coffee, reading the newspaper, sitting outside, drinking at a bar, etc. All of those activities are times that were usually spent smoking, and thus they have developed strong associations with those situations and smoking.

When I was an undergrad, one of my pharm professors said he had to stop reading the paper while drinking his morning cup of coffee because his nicotine cravings got so horribly bad. If he separated the two activities, he didn't have as strong cravings anymore. He disrupted the context by creating two relatively novel situations.
 

appolyon

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I'm suffering through this at the moment. I believe it has something to do with learned behaviour (and the connection with booze has probably one of the strongest links with smoking)

When I first quit I craved cigarettes after meals, sex, while waiting for the tram/bus etc ... now its the booze that always suckers me back in ... I'll quit again next week
 

Joffrey

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I never smoke when I don't drink (nasty smell and I hate to be controlled by any substance). But put a beer, cocktail or glass of wine in me and I start craving a cigarette if I have some on me or see anyone (on TV or real life) light up. I don't mind smoking at all - I actually enjoy it, but I keep it to weekends when I go out. My roomate who usually goes halves (on a packet) with me hasn't smoked in 3 months, but that's because he hasn't really gone drinking in as much time.
 

kwilkinson

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My girlfriend hates the smell of cigars. So I don't smoke around her. She loves the smell of alcohol on my breath. For some reason, it turns her on. So I generally drink everytime I smoke to cover up the smell and help myself get laid.
 

scarphe

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this has never happened to me so it may be something that only exaddicts feel.
 

Piobaire

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I've seen that in action, but never experienced it myself. Then again, I've never smoked in my life. If you look at the public health lit, you see some interesting things. Regular, heavy drinking is highly associated with lung cancer. Bladder cancer is highly associated with smoking. What it shows is that smoking and regular heavy drinking tend to be a pair of habits that go together.
 

DNW

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Originally Posted by kwilkinson
My girlfriend hates the smell of cigars. So I don't smoke around her. She loves the smell of alcohol on my breath. For some reason, it turns her on. So I generally drink everytime I smoke to cover up the smell and help myself get laid.

Genius!

I consider myself an ex-addict. At my worst, I smoked about a pack a day in undergrad. Obviously, there was heavy drinking involved then. But now, I can go on for days without touching a cig, if I don't drink. One thing though, for some drinks, I don't have the urge as bad. A G&T usually doesn't push me over the edge. But, give me a beer, or any kind of whiskey, and I'll be reaching for my cig in no time. Strange.
 

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