Smoking makes hangovers worse

Smoking makes hangovers worse

Smoking and drinking alcohol in excess has many disadvantages, however new research now shows that smoking heavily simultaneously with drinking heavily results in more severe hangover symptoms; findings were published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

The study conducted by a team of researchers from Brown University, led by Dr Damaris Rohsenow and Kristina Jackson, examined data from 113 students at a Midwestern University. The researchers controlled for elements which could affect the reliability of their findings, such as whether students reported drug use in the past year.

Dr Damaris Rohsenow said:

"At the same number of drinks, people who smoke more that day are more likely to have a hangover and have more intense hangovers. And smoking itself was linked to an increased risk of hangover compared with not smoking at all. That raises the likelihood that there is some direct effect of tobacco smoking on hangovers."

The college students surveyed were asked to record the number of drinks they consumed, number of cigarettes smoked, as well as their hangover symptoms; including level of tiredness, headache, nausea, and difficulty concentrating.

The investigators also took into account approximated blood alcohol concentration (BAC), allowing for control of differences between males and females, looking at weight and the period of time over which the students drank. Analyses took place on days after drinking that would cause hangover symptoms, and then again on lighter drinking days in order to compare outcomes.

The researchers examined the results and found that smoking more frequently the day before raised the likelihood and intensity of a hangover the following day, but only when combined with a heavy drinking episode. A "heavy drinking episode" means around six cans of beer an hour, or a BAC of 110mg/dl or higher.

The reasons why the two are related is still open to question, although the authors suggest it may have to do with the pharmacological effects of nicotine on the nervous system.

Rohsenow pointed out that other research has stated that nicotine receptors in the brain contribute to our subjective drinking response. Combining smoking and drinking increases dopamine in the brain, a "feel-good" chemical.

Tobacco smoke also creates the chemical acetaldehyde, which formulates in your tissues when you drink alcohol and is the cause of many unpleasant hangover symptoms. Acetaldehyde also increases the risk of developing some cancers.

What Causes a Hangover?

A hangover is made up of signs and symptoms after an episode of excessive drinking. Hangovers can occur at any time of the day, but are more common in the morning after a night of drinking. Physical symptoms normally include:
  • headache
  • nausea or vomiting
  • dizziness
  • sleepiness
  • confusion
  • thirst
Apart from physical symptoms, an individual may also experience:
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • regret
  • shame
  • embarrassment
The severity of a hangover is directly connected to the amount of alcohol an individual drinks and how much sleep he or she has gotten, and according to this new study, whether or not the person smoked a lot of cigarettes.

The hangover symptoms that individuals feel can be caused by:

  • urination (resulting in dehydration)
  • immune system response
  • stomach irritation
  • poor sleep quality
  • drop in blood sugar
  • dilation of blood vessels

Which Alcohol Gives the Worst Hangover? (Video Medical And Professional 2020).

Section Issues On Medicine: Psychiatry