Stop Drunk Smoking, NOW!

You are out with your friends on a Friday night, ‘enjoying’ a Keystone Lite at F or meeting new people at a fraternity porch party, maybe you’re even at a court party dancing the night away. Either way, you’re probably drinking, and so are the people around you. Then, the next thing you know, you, or a friend, have a strong craving for a cigarette, and so you cozy up to a freshman boy, because everyone knows that if you ask politely he will give you both a cig and a light.

So why is it that we drunk smoke? You or a friend might choose to indulge in the occasional cigarette, but you rarely (or never) buy cigs or smoke during the week. But then the weekend rolls around, you reach a certain level of intoxication, people around start lighting up, and the rest is history. Alcohol also reduces inhibitions, making you less likely to say no to the temptation.

According to Dr. Marina Piccioto, a psychiatry professor at Yale, “When you smoke while drinking, you strengthen the correlation among the cigarette in your hand, the friends you're drinking with, and the drink itself. The next time you go to a bar, the environment triggers a cigarette craving.”

What this means for you when you are out is that your brain will recall that great Saturday two weeks ago when you started a conversation with someone cute by asking them for a cigarette and went on to have a ton of fun with your friends. So to your drunk brain, that cig you crave so badly will make your night even better, when in actuality it will increase likelihood of a hangover, according to a 2012 study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. And since alcohol and nicotine are both addictive, drinking and smoking together creates an association between the two, so the more you drink the more likely you are to light up, says a new study in the American Journal of Health Behavior.

And worse yet, your casual, weekend-only cigarettes can start to make increasing appearances into your week, leading to addiction. And if you don’t know by now why a cigarette habit is bad, well, I’d recommend a brief Google search.

But have no fear, drunk smokers, here are a few tips to quitting, and remember there are plenty of other ways to start a conversation with someone other than by asking for a cigarette.

1. Choose a food and condition yourself to crave that food, not a light. Trust me, no matter how unhealthy, greasy, or sugary this food is, it will always be better than tobacco.

2. Drink less. This way, you will have more self control if your urge for a cigarette appears.

3. Remove yourself from situations where others are smoking, since the second hand smoke can act as a trigger. Or politely ask whoever is smoking to move away from you.

And most importantly…

4. Enlist your friends (no, not tequila, your other friends). Tell them before you go out to stop you if they see you trying to smoke. Be sure to thank them in the morning, especially if you throw a brief drunk hissy fit because they put out your cigarette.

May the odds be ever in your favor, collegiettes!


*HC Davidson abides by college policy and does not support underage alcohol consumption.