Alcohol and tobacco are two of the most harmful substances that people can consume. They are both associated with a range of health problems, including cancer, heart disease, and liver disease. Alcohol is also a major contributor to accidents and injuries. Together, alcohol and tobacco use account for a huge burden on society, in terms of both the cost of healthcare and the loss of productivity.
Here are some specific ways in which alcohol and tobacco can damage your health:
Cancer: Alcohol and tobacco are both linked to cancer. Alcohol can increase the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and breast. Tobacco use is linked to cancers of the lung, throat, mouth, pancreas, bladder, and kidney.
Heart disease: Alcohol and tobacco use are both major risk factors for heart disease. Heavy drinkers are more likely to develop high blood pressure, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. smokers are also more likely to develop heart disease.
Liver disease: Alcohol abuse is a leading cause of liver disease. Drinking too much alcohol can damage the liver, leading to conditions like cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and hepatitis (inflammation of the liver). Tobacco use can also damage the liver.
Pulmonary disease: Both smoking and secondhand smoke exposure are major risk factors for pulmonary (lung) diseases, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Alcohol abuse can also lead to pulmonary disease.
Gastrointestinal problems: Alcohol and tobacco use can both cause gastrointestinal problems, such as ulcers and indigestion. Alcohol abuse can also lead to pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).
Reproductive problems: Alcohol and tobacco use can both cause reproductive problems. Drinking too much alcohol can interfere with a woman’s ability to ovulate and can damage the developing fetus. Smoking tobacco can damage a woman’s eggs and increase the risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, and low birth weight.
There is no safe level of consumption for either substance. Even moderate use of alcohol or tobacco can have serious health consequences. The best way to protect your health is to avoid these substances altogether.