"Which is worse: alcohol or cigarettes?"

<p>Had this discussion with my college-student D today. I told her that I thought cigarettes are worse but I am not sure I have good reasons for my answer, especially considering that she can legally smoke but she cannot legally drink yet.</p>

<p>What would you tell your kid? (Of course, the ideal state of affairs would be to not smoke and to not drink until 21.)</p>

<p>Alcohol causes more deaths & ruins more lives I daresay than tobacco.</p>

<p>Alcohol can be enjoyed responsibly. Millions of people drink without getting alcohol poisoning, driving drunk, getting fat, etc.</p>

<p>Cigarettes pretty much ruin your health no matter what, and lower your value to friends, romantic interests, employers, etc. </p>

<p>Cigarettes are worse.</p>

<p>cigarettes are worse. once you smoke, it's really hard to stop. it ruins your health in the long run and can give you lung cancer. as Vyse said, alcohol use can be controlled and enjoyed responisbly.</p>

<p>Some of it has to do with genetic predisposition. If you have a genetic predisposition for alcoholism, alcohol will get you earlier, and take a much greater toll on your life - in everything from higher rates of heart disease, cancer, liver disease and cirrhosis, mental health problems, social instability, productivity, employability, the list goes on and on. If you don't have such a predisposition, biggest dangers are accidents, driving, acting stupidly, rape and sexual assault, etc. It should be noted, however, than even small amounts of alcohol, one drink a day, substantially increases the rate of breast cancer in women. </p>

<p>Cigarettes will kill you, but will get you later. It is also much more highly addictive than alcohol (except for those genetically predisposed.) </p>

<p>The point being: there isn't an easy answer. They are different, with differing risks and risk factors.</p>

<p>Alcohol can be good for you in small to moderate quantities. Cigarettes are bad for you in all quantities.</p>

<p>I'd have to say alcohol is worse. While cigarettes will cause long term health damage, alcohol has long and short term bad consequences. (I'm talking excess use here in both cases).</p>

<p>Alcohol causes accidents, unplanned pregnancy, poor work and school performance and damages relationships. Long term it causes liver damage, brain damage, cancer, obesity, and on and on.</p>

<p>Obviously neither is good. But given a choice between being addicted to two evils, I'd choose cigarettes.</p>

<p>Nicotine, tar and smoke particles have absolutely NO beneficial properties. There are studies hinting that very moderate consumption of alcohol can have some health benefits. Based on this, I would say that alcohol is the lesser of the two evils. Besides, alcohol can be used in moderation. I know people who could have as little as one glass of wine per month. I have yet to meet a "moderate" smoker who smokes one cigarette per month.</p>

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<p>However, "excess use" for cigarettes is any amount greater than zero, or even being near other users, while "excess use" for alcohol starts at some point greater than zero for most people.</p>

<p>There is NO safe level of tobacco, nicotine and tar. Emphysemtameous changes in the lungs occur even from 2nd hand smoke and it can makes genetic changes in the smoker that gets passed on to the next generation, especially for women of childbearing ages. Tobacco is one of the MOST addictive substances, especially since there are so many additives to it to increase the addictive properties. It greatly increases the risk of heart damage, cancers OF ALL KINDS, diabetes, kidney disease, and of course respiratory disease including asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and more. It also changes the brains of smokers and their dopomine receptors. It is THE TOUGHEST addiction to quit--harder than alcohol, drugs, heroin, according to the many who are addicted to several different substances.</p>

<p>Drinking CAN be consumed carefully and safely. Unfortunately, it has a tendency to be abused and misused, especially among young people. It has wrecked many lives, especially with drunk drivers, people who commit or are victims of violence while under the influence, and alcoholics and those whose lives they touch.</p>

<p>I too would be happier if more people would abstain from both or perhaps just partake very moderately and carefully of alcohol.</p>

<p>Tobacco is the only product legally sold in the US which, when used as intended over a period of time, is always harmful. The same can't be said of alcohol.</p>

<p>Another reason smoking is worse is that it's more difficult to quit. I'm an ex-drinker and an ex-smoker, and quitting cigarettes was 100 times harder.</p>

<p>
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There are studies hinting that very moderate consumption of alcohol can have some health benefits.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>There is a vast scientific literature on the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, especially for red wine, much more than just 'hints'.</p>

<p>Cigarettes are far worse. I can't even stand to be around them. Literally makes me sick.</p>

<p>I think I need it to be clarified- are we speaking of the individual or society?</p>

<p>Tobacco is used in beneficial ways- although there is a health trade off. People smoke cigarettes to stave off hunger or boredom.
Schizophrenics smoke to moderate symptoms as do people who are bi-polar. Drug addicts often smoke to replace harsher drugs.</p>

<p>I do admit that people can use alcohol in moderation but think of accident numbers & how many of those were exacerbated by alcohol. Job loss. Violent crimes.
Do we have nicotine fueled psychosis?</p>

<p>
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Alcohol causes more deaths & ruins more lives I daresay than tobacco.

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</p>

<p>No way. Nicotine addiction kills more people every year than every other drug (alcohol, heroin, cocaine, etc.) combined. And, it's not even close. There is no substance on earth more addictive and more dangerous to your health than nicotine. It kills one out of every two smokers, on average.</p>

<p>Anyone taking their first dose of nicotine as teen should assume that they will use nicotine all day, every day, for their entire lives, until it kills them. Yes, they may beat the odds. But, the odds are better playing Russian Roulette with a loaded gun. You have to be out of your mind to ever take a dose of nicotine. It's all "downside". There is no known benefit. It's not even a decent buzz.</p>

<p>Oh, and what I would tell my kid? When my daughter came home from Dubai with a souvenir hookah, I told her that I would personally come wring her neck if she got herself addicted to tobacco. I suggested that she use it to smoke pot instead.</p>

<p>She was under some delusion that smoking tobacco in a hookah was not the same as smoking tobacco in a cigarette. Big mistake.</p>

<p>In moderation, alcohol (esp. beer/wine) can be fine but cigarettes will still take years off your life (on average). Also the addictiveness is a big factor either way. I say cigarettes.</p>

<p>*There is no substance on earth more addictive and more dangerous to your health than nicotine. *</p>

<p>Then I would have to wonder why we allow the tobacco companies to add nicotine & other substance to cigarettes.
And why we still subsidize those companies to the tune of millions of dollars every year.</p>

<p>Very good questions, EK. I think the answer clearly is that people who make big money from it, make big contributions to politicians.</p>

<p>EK, for the same reason we allow private health insurance companies to deny coverage, deny claims, jack up premiums and generally run our medical system: even though it's to the detriment of the vast majority, a handful of people are getting very very rich from it. And as garland said, that handful of people can purchase legislators to keep the gravy train running.</p>