SAN FRANCISCO-Heavy smokers who want to quit smoking may find it helpful to cut back on the use of alcohol, a new study from Oregon State University (OSU) in the western United States revealed Thursday.

Sarah Dermody, an assistant professor at OSU who is the study's lead author, partnered with her colleagues at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada, to examine the links between drinking and smoking in a group of daily smokers who were seeking treatment for alcohol use disorder over a few weeks.

Dermody's research showed that when heavy drinkers curbed their drinking, there would be a reduction in their nicotine metabolite ratio, a biomarker measuring how quickly a person's body metabolizes nicotine.

Smokers who love to drink and were trying to quit their daily smoking habit could slow their nicotine metabolite ratio by cutting back on their consumption of alcohol, Dermody said.

As previous studies showed, people who have higher nicotine metabolite ratios are likely to smoke more, thus they would have more difficulty in giving up smoking.

According to the research, the nicotine metabolite ratio of the men surveyed in the study would fall correspondingly when they sharply cut their drinks in the same period.

"This research suggests that drinking is changing the nicotine metabolism as indexed by the nicotine metabolite ratio, and that daily smoking and heavy drinking may best be treated together," said Dermody, whose study was published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.