For many people, having a smoke without a cup of coffee is unthinkable. But is this combination good for health? Smoking and drinking coffee causes stiffness of the arteries, which increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. NutriNeat lists some of the potential dangers of combining smoking and drinking coffee.
Our study confirms that smoking has an additional unfavorable effect and that heavy coffee consumption may pose an additional risk.”—Dr. Charalambos Vlachopoulos, M.D., from the Athens Medical School and Hippokration Hospital, Athens, Greece.
For many people, cigarettes and coffee go hand in hand. The trend of smoking while have a cup of coffee, or vice versa, has been around since centuries. Unfortunately, it makes one of the most unhealthy combinations, and can be very dangerous for the body. Taken individually, it is common knowledge that cigarettes are harmful for the body. However, while coffee, if taken moderately, is beneficial for the body, it can be extremely harmful if taken in large quantities.
There are different assumptions and theories behind this combination. Some believe that hot coffee opens the pores of the throat which makes smoking more pleasurable, while others believe that the taste of coffee is enhanced by the smoke of the cigarette. Scientifically, the reason this combination is so popular can be attributed to the addictive properties of caffeine and nicotine. However, whatever the reason, the fact remains that this combination is harmful for health.
Is Combining Cigarettes and Coffee Bad for Health?
According to a study by Charalambos Vlachopoulos, MD, and his colleagues of the cardiology department at the Athens Medical School, smoking and coffee interact with each other and produce a very negative effect on the heart.
|“Given the frequent combination of smoking and caffeine intake, these effects on arterial function may have important implications for human health,” write the researchers in the Nov. 2 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Study That Showed Coffee and Cigarettes To Be a Bad Combo
In an effort to show that combining cigarettes and coffee can cause harmful effects on the body, a study was conducted on a group of people. The study was divided into two parts:
a.] an acute study, conducted on 24 people to see the immediate effect of combining coffee and smoking,
b.] a chronic study, conducted on 160 people, to see the long-term consequences of combining coffee and smoking.
The first study was conducted on 24 healthy men and women, who were current smokers and coffee drinkers with no heart problems, diabetes, blood pressure, or high cholesterol. Aortic stiffness was studied on 14 participants, and wave reflection in arterial blood flow was studied in the rest of the 10 participants. The researchers found that smoking followed by caffeine had a greater negative effect on the heart than the sum of each product taken separately.
|To add to this study, Dr. Vlachopoulos said, “Some of our previous studies, together with some from other laboratories, have shown that smoking and caffeine separately increase arterial stiffness. However, it was not known whether the impact of one or the other stimulus was so large that it did not leave room for further deterioration. In other words, when I smoke a cigarette, do my arteries harden so much that when I drink coffee at the same time they cannot stiffen anymore, and vice versa? Particularly in the acute study, the final impact of the two stimuli was larger than the sum of the separate impacts of the two stimuli alone”.
In the second study, a sample of 160 people were taken into consideration. They were divided into four groups: smokers who drank coffee, smokers who didn’t drink coffee, nonsmokers who drank coffee, and people who neither drank coffee nor smoked. In this study too, arterial stiffness and abnormal blood flow was found in the people who smoked as well as drank coffee. Again, in this study, the individual effect of the products was lesser than their combined effect.
|Dr. Vlachopoulos added, “As regards the mechanism in the acute setting, this most likely has to do with the effect of smoking and caffeine on catecholamines (norepinephrine, epinephrine and dopamine) and adenosine (a substance that dilates arteries). In the chronic setting, the explanation is not so straightforward, mainly because the possible effects of chronic coffee consumption on the arterial wall have not been investigated at a basic level”.
This study included only young people, all under the age of 30 years, and none of them having any health complications. Thus, the result may not be the same for people who are above 30, or who already suffer from some heart problems. Older people who already have problems related to high blood pressure, should totally avoid this combo. Though the study discussed in the paragraphs above has shown the effects of combining cigarettes and coffee, more research is required to explain its long-term effects.
How is Stiffness of the Arteries Harmful?
Development of plaque in the arteries makes them rigid and they lose their elasticity. This causes narrowing of the arteries, which further results in high blood pressure. This forces the heart to work harder in order to meet the body’s requirement of oxygenated blood. In the long run, this can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. So, if you are smoking and drinking coffee, it is best to avoid this combination.
Though we say that people should avoid the combination of smoking and drinking coffee, it should be pointed out that both these have harmful effects of their own, even if taken individually. There are no positives to smoking, and hence, this vice should be stopped altogether. Caffeine, in moderate amounts, can be beneficial, but long-term drinking of coffee can be harmful as well. So, if you must smoke, be aware that you are causing your body irreparable harm, and try not to combine this deadly habit with caffeine intake.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice.