When you picture people at bars, you see men and women casually smoking AND drinking, right? As the daughter of an alcoholic and a heavy smoker, my heart goes out to the children and spouses of those who indulge in both. Because let’s be realistic, the likelihood that anyone who smokes also drinks is strong. I did not see the correlation as a child or teenager, I just thought of them as separate bad habits.
Well,writing this very public blog, I hope to create that awareness for others, since it is too late for my dad. Far too many individuals indulge and over-indulge (if that even seems possible) in both alcohol and tobacco. And this so much so that their combined effects on cancer risks are multiplied on sites pervasively in contact during the absorption of alcohol and tobacco: these sites are known as the upper aero-digestive tract, and more specifically the oral cavity, the throat, voice box, and esophagus. A 2004
Research by Zheng stated that heavy drinkers and smokers had a 300 times higher risk of oral and pharyngeal cancer than people who neither drank nor smoked.
Sadly, my dad started smoking and drinking in his twenties as a youg emancipated college-educated man of a newly independent country(this was in the sixties). President of many student associations, and yes he had charisma, he went on to become a high ranking government official. He had many great accomplishments at a very young age, which could also provide some measure of explanation for his bad habits that became nothing more than the markings of a busy diplomatic life, yet that slowly led to his demise as alcohol and smoking took their toll over two and a half decades of his active career.
He did stop the smoking at the early precursory signs of cancerous cells in his 50s but HE NEVER GAVE UP THE ALCOLHOL; now in his 70s he hides to drink his daily dose of pure alcohol, but his breath and antics don’t lie. I feel that the Divine is still waiting for him to turn his life around. So to me and my sister, these two twin addictions are indelibly linked to our memories and lives. Whatever your successes and pressures that are attached, MAKE time for your health; don’t just stop smoking if you are drinking, but eliminate all your addictions; a 190 degree change is the only viable long-term solution. Perhaps one day my dad will be sober and read this blog.