chapter  9
2 Pages

THE CHEST

The tendency for heavy drinkers also to be heavy smokers probably explains the marked excess of chronic bronchitis and emphysema as well as lung cancer in such people. There is also a higher incidence of tuberculosis.1 There has been some suggestion that high alcohol intake may hasten the onset of chronic chest disease in smokers.2 It is uncertain whether the marked excess of cancer deaths in heavy drinkers is due to smoking alone or whether there is some tendency for alcohol itself to promote the development of cancer of the lungs.3 Alcohol abusers are frequently malnourished and may also have some depression of their immune system. This has led some observers to postulate the existence of a specific alcohol-induced lung disease, although the evidence for this is poor.4