Need a Cigarette? Maybe You Should Drink Some Wine First

New research finds that red wine can counter the short-term damage inflicted by smoking.

It’s one of the few tenets the scientific community almost universally agrees on: Cigarettes are bad for you. But a new study from Germany has found that drinking a glass of wine, specifically red wine, may counteract the short-term negative effects of smoking. While the researchers are not suggesting anyone light up, their findings offer more evidence of wine’s health benefits.

The scientists, whose work was published online in the American Journal of Medicine, noted that smoking’s short-term effects on cardiovascular health are almost the opposite of red wine’s effects. When you light up, the smoke inflames blood vessels and damages cells. Research has shown that red wine decreases blood vessel inflammation.

“Sparse data exist on the short-term potential vasoprotective effects of red wine in smoking healthy individuals,” said lead researcher Viktoria Schwarz of the University of Saarland, in a statement. “We found evidence that pre-consumption of red wine prevented most of the vascular injury caused by smoking.”

Schwarz and her team gathered 20 healthy nonsmokers and asked each one to smoke three cigarettes. Half of the subjects drank red wine—enough to raise their blood alcohol levels to 0.075 percent—one hour before they smoked. The researchers collected blood and alcohol samples both before the experiment and then regularly until 18 hours after the subjects had smoked.

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