Smoking Makes Your Hangovers Worse
December 5, 2012

Drinking And Smoking Can Make Hangovers Worse

[ Watch the Video: Smoking While Drinking Can Make Hangovers Worse ]

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

For many people, drinking and smoking belong together like summer and shorts or coffee shops and acoustic guitars. To the sober person, (or the non-smoker) the combination of heavy drinking and smoking sounds like a one-two punch to the human body. To those who are accustomed to such behavior, this pairing is as common and natural as life itself.

New research from Brown University may give these smoking barflies pause before heading out to the local tavern with a pack of smokes in hand.

According to Dr. Damaris J Rohsenow with the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, smoking while drinking heavily might be all that´s needed to push a person into hangover territory the next day. Furthermore, these hangovers are likely to be even more intense and severe than if that person hadn´t had any cigarettes at all.

Hangovers are already a foggy phenomenon and scarcely understood by many scientists. The morning-after effects are completely individual, and if a group of friends go out together to tie one on, only a quarter of this group will wake up with a hangover, even if everyone had the same amount to drink.

Those who smoke when they drink will almost always hit a certain point in an evening of imbibing where they crave a cigarette. In her research, Dr. Rohsenow discovered that those who smoke aren´t more likely to experience a hangover just because they had more to drink, thus driving them to smoke. No matter the amount of alcohol taken in, smoking is now said to make the hangovers worse.

“At the same number of drinks, people who smoke more that day are more likely to have a hangover and have more intense hangovers,” explained Dr. Rohsenow in a press statement.

The research also allowed for some controls as well, such as the use of drugs. At the end of the research, the result was the same no matter the control: Smoking increased the chance of a hangover and made those hangovers even more intense.

Dr. Rohsenow is now suggesting a link between nicotine and the headaches, nausea and clouded head of a hangover, though she isn´t yet sure how these two are linked.

Previous research has shown the same sectors of our brain which receive and react to nicotine also react to alcohol. Therefore, when someone drinks enough to trigger this section of the brain, it begins asking for nicotine as well. When these two elements are paired together, more dopamine, the brain´s “feel-good” chemical, is released, further solidifying this connection.

Dr. Rohsenow now thinks this connection could be responsible for smokers experiencing more intense hangovers.

To conduct this study, Dr. Rohsenow and team asked 113 college students to complete a web survey about their drinking and smoking habits – as well as hangover symptoms – every day for 8 weeks. These surveys showed that when one of these students drank heavily, (5 or 6 cans of beer in an hour) those who also smoked were more likely to experience a hangover on the next day. These hungover students also experienced a more intense hangover than those who did not smoke.

While there have been numerous studies conducted about the health effects of both drinking heavily and smoking, this study in particular suggests that if there is to be a morning after, best to cut the cigarettes out of the equation.

Dr. Rohsenow´s study is set to be published in January´s issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.