Cigarette and Alcohol Damage Hearts

Tobacco smoke-filled air is bad for cardiovascular health, and drinking alcohol at the same time only makes it worse.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham team study the effects of smoking and breathing second-hand smoke along with drinking, and test the theory that moderate alcohol consumption provides some heart-protection benefits.

The conclusion was that mice exposed to smoky air in a laboratory enclosure and fed a liquid diet containing ethanol, had a 4.7-fold increase in artery lesions. That compares to mice who breathed filtered air and ate a normal solid diet.

Artery lesions are a common problem in heavy smokers andat the same time are a key sign of advancing cardiovascular disease.

The studies reported mice solely exposed to the smoky air had a 2.3-fold increase in artery lesions and mice solely fed a liquid diet containing ethanol had a 3.5-fold increase in artery lesions when compared to mice who breathed filtered air and mice fed a normal diet.

This study shows that exposure to cigarette (tobacco) smoke when combined with alcohol caused the greatest degree of cardiovascular disease development compared to either action or exposure alone.

Moderate alcohol consumption is commonly thought to be cardioprotective. These findings are important for smokers and non-smokers alike in terms of what you should and should not do to protect their good health.

This experiments were performed over a 5 week period. Blood-alcohol concentrations reached the equivalent of a 150-pound adult consuming 2 drinks per hour. Cigarette smoke exposure was similar to being in an automobile with a chain smoker with the windows closed.

To measuring artery lesions in the study mice, the University of Alabama at Birmingham team looked at other signs of advancing cardiovascular disease.

These measurements showed that taking in both smoky air and ethanol had the effect of basically nullifying any potential heart benefit from drinking alcohol by itself.