December 05, 2012, 8:05 AM — Talk about adding temporary nausea to potential permanent death! A new study shows that people who smoke when they drink run a greater risk of suffering a hangover the next morning.
Researchers at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University found that "college students were more likely to report hangover symptoms after a heavy drinking episode if they smoked more heavily on the day they drank," according to a center press release. "And it wasn't simply because they smoked more when they drank more."
"At the same number of drinks, people who smoke more that day are more likely to have a hangover and have more intense hangovers," said researcher Dr. Damaris J. Rohsenow.
The study was based on a Web survey of 113 college students who kept a log of their drinking and smoking habits, and any hangover symptoms, every day for eight weeks. (Talk about big data!)
Students who reported drinking heavily -- the equivalent of five or six cans of beer in about an hour (are you kidding?) -- and smoking more on that same day "had higher odds of suffering a hangover the next morning and suffered more when they did," the center said.
Rohsenow said other studies show a link between nicotine receptors in the brain and a person's subjective response to drinking, with simultaneous consumption of tobacco and alcohol elevating the amount of dopamine released to the person's bloodstream.
Dopamine is the brain's "feel-good" chemical that rewards certain behaviors with feelings of pleasure. Some of these behaviors (exercise, meditation, sex) work in our favor; others (cocaine use, excessive drinking, gambling, physical risk-taking) do not.
The Brown research results appear in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
According to AlcoholMD.com:
* 80% to 95% of alcoholics are cigarette smokers
* The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that "alcoholism is 10 to 14 times more prevalent among smokers than non-smokers"
* About 70% of alcoholics are "heavy smokers," consuming more than one pack a day