Which is Harder to Quit: Alcohol or Cigarettes?

When it comes to substance abuse, the effects on the body, research, and treatment options vary. A study conducted by the National Library of Medicine in the United States asked around 1000 people seeking treatment for drug rehabilitation in California or for alcohol dependence about the difficulty of quitting either of these substances. It is clear that alcohol and cigarettes have a similar effect on the body, yet the approach to treatment is not the same. For instance, if someone has been drinking for twenty years and only smoking for six months, they will likely find it easier to quit smoking than drinking.

In my own experience with alcohol-free periods, I wanted to give up alcohol for a certain period of time to lose weight or gain control over my consumption. Support groups are available for nicotine addiction, but not as much as those for alcohol and drug abuse. There are no over-the-counter methods of treatment that force people to quit smoking all of a sudden or seek help from a rehabilitation center. Recent research has shown that brain chemicals make alcohol an attractive option for people seeking a surge of satisfaction. This study also showed that treatment outcomes for patients addicted to both alcohol and nicotine are often worse than those who are only addicted to one or the other. It is much easier to admit that you have a problem with either substance, as everyone knows it anyway.

Once you make the decision to give up either of these substances, your experience will be very personal.

Sophia Streeby
Sophia Streeby

Addiction recovery expert from experience and training - I want to help others Quit drinking alcohol and find freedom from addiction daily.