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.