Get help today 888-685-5770 or sign up for 24/7 text support.
American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

The Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Tobacco

Both tobacco and alcohol can be highly addictive and have long-ranging health consequences. The effects of mixing tobacco and alcohol can include a shortened life span, interpersonal problems, and respiratory problems. This is because both substances can be dangerous on their own and because tobacco is a mild stimulant, while alcohol is a depressant. Also, both tobacco and alcohol are legal and widely available, making them easier to abuse. Fortunately, there is help available if you are struggling with tobacco and alcohol addiction. To get confidential assistance finding a treatment program, call us.

Our admissions navigators are available to speak with you about treatment any time of day. Call our hotline at to start your journey toward recovery today.

What Does Tobacco Do to the Body?

Tobacco is a plant-based drug that contains nicotine, which is the addictive substance in cigarettes. Cigarettes contain much more than just nicotine, though. They also include tar, preservatives, and chemicals that are carcinogens, meaning that they cause cancer. Included among these chemicals are arsenic, cadmium, carbon monoxide, ammonia, butane, hydrogen cyanide, and DDT. When you smoke a cigarette, the nicotine constricts the blood vessels in your body, causing your blood pressure to become higher. High blood pressure is included with health problems such as strokes. Nicotine also increases your heart rate and stimulates the nervous system. Smoking a cigarette may cause a mild, temporary buzz.

What Does Alcohol Do to the Body?

Alcohol is a depressant, meaning it slows the functioning of the mind and the body. This is because it decreases the activity between the brain’s neurons, which control all of the body’s functions. Even a small amount of alcohol can cause side effects such as dizziness, giddiness, and sleepiness. Moderate drinking is defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as anything over one drink per day for women and adults over the age of 65 and more than two drinks per day for men under 65. Children and teenagers should never drink. Drinking more than a moderate quantity at one time can result in nausea, vomiting, trouble sleeping, and poor judgment. Accidents and falls are more likely to happen after the consumption of too much alcohol.

Short-Term Effects of Smoking and Drinking

The short-term effects of mixing alcohol and tobacco are subtle. If you have ever visited a bar, you know that it is a common practice to drink and smoke at the same time. The primary danger from drinking and smoking simultaneously is that, because one drug is a depressant and the other one is a stimulant, you may not realize how much the alcohol is affecting your body. This could cause you to drink more than you should because you do not feel drunk. Incorrectly assessing your level of inebriation could lead to poor judgment.

Long-Term Effects of Smoking and Drinking

The long-term effects of mixing alcohol and tobacco are still being studied, but initial tests show that mixing the two drugs can have long-ranging and serious health consequences. Studies have shown that smoking and drinking together can increase the risk of throat and esophageal cancer. This may be because the alcohol dissolves chemicals in the cigarette while they are still in the throat. This can cause carcinogens to become trapped against the sensitive tissues of the throat. Furthermore, drinking alcohol and smoking at the same time affects how quickly the body can metabolize both drugs. This means that the carcinogens from cigarettes stay in the bloodstream for longer. Longer exposure to carcinogens means an increased cancer risk.

Treatment for Addiction to Tobacco and Alcohol

If you are addicted to tobacco and alcohol, help is available. The effects of mixing tobacco and alcohol should not be taken lightly. Call us for confidential help.

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.