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Do you know people who always seek out a cigarette when they are drinking? Well, a new study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs claims that these puffs may be making their hangover 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,” study researcher Damaris J. Rohsenow, of Brown University, said in a press release.
A group of 113 university students took a daily web survey for 8 weeks. They recorded how many drinks they had in a certain amount of time, how many cigarettes they smoked, and the severity of their hangover symptoms: nausea, weakness, headache, tiredness, and difficulty concentrating.
Obviously, they found that more alcoholic drinks made hangovers worse, but surprisingly found that more smoking did too. When the students smoked more during a night of heavy drinking (equivalent to five or six cans of beer in about an hour) they had worse hangovers.
How cigarettes worsen hangovers isn’t clear, but previous studies have shown that using nicotine and alcohol together boosts the release of dopamine in the limbic system of the brain — an area involved in emotions, motivation, and memory. Dopamine is a brain chemical which gives you feelings of pleasure and reward, which is probably why so many people smoke when they drink, and why smokers reach for their packs more when at the bar.