Is alcohol as dangerous as smoking? © Getty Images

Is alcohol as dangerous as smoking?

Your health could probably do without beer and cigarette induced harm.

Asked by: Anonymous

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Comparisons aren’t easy. Alcohol has a more obvious short-term danger: downing a bottle of whisky is more risky than chain-smoking cigarettes over the same period. On the other hand, even an occasional smoking habit starts to predispose you to various diseases, unlike very low levels of alcohol (endogenous ethanol) that are produced by your body anyway. Drinking small amounts even has certain health benefits (although, in most people, these are probably slightly outweighed by associated health problems).

One reasonable comparison is to look at the global health effects. Tobacco kills about twice as many people as alcohol worldwide, and more than 10 times as many in high-income countries. But if you also include non-fatal health effects, then although tobacco’s still worse in high-income countries, alcohol causes more of a worldwide health problem.


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