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Why You Should Have a Drink, Skip the Smoke

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Why You Should Have a Drink, Skip the Smoke

Few images seem less healthy than that of someone swilling a cocktail while pulling on a cigarette, and new research shows why that may be true. Although light to moderate drinking of alcohol is considered to decrease the risk of stroke, adding cigarette smoking to the equation appears to counteract the benefits.

In a 12-year study, presented today at the American Academy of Neurology’s 62nd Annual Meeting in Toronto, the association between alcohol drinking and stroke was found to be quite different between smokers and non-smokers. Non-smokers who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol were 37 percent less likely to develop stroke than non-drinkers, while in smokers this decreased risk was not observed.

This finding suggests that smoking may modify the relationship between alcohol intake and stroke risk. For the purposes of the study, moderate drinking was defined as drinking up to 21 units of alcohol per week, which is equal to about two to three regular glasses of red wine a day.

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

112 comments

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8:15AM PST on Dec 6, 2012

Thanks for the info.

1:39AM PST on Dec 6, 2012

Thanks for information!

11:56AM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

but most people can't drink alcohol during work hours . . .

6:05AM PDT on May 2, 2012

Thanks for the article.

10:03PM PDT on May 1, 2012

Thanks.

6:26AM PDT on Apr 12, 2012

Thank you for the article.

11:12PM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

OK

12:30PM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

Sooooo...do you mean to tell me that it only took 50 million deaths from SMOKING to FIGURE THIS OUT? And who on earth is trying to link ALCOHOL in with SMOKING? Could it be the TOBACCO INDUSTRY TRYING TO BLAME ALCOHOL???? Now that we have POSITIVE PROOF THAT TOBACCO CAUSES YOU TO DIE A SLOW, PAINFUL DEATH, WHY DON'T WE BAN ALCOHOL, the WRONG THING? TOBACCO JUST HASN'T KILLED ENOUGH PEOPLE YET!!!!! SECOND HAND SMOKE KILLS THOUSANDS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN A YEAR!!!!

8:05AM PST on Feb 24, 2012

interactive effects probably exist in lots of other health areas, too--evidence taken out of context rather than in the full context can be misleading

1:15PM PST on Feb 2, 2012

I don't smoke but I guess I won't feel too bad about that glass of beer I have twice a week. I'm feeling worse about that glass of soda I drank today since the dangers of it seem to be worse than alcohol!

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