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Quitting Smoking and Hangovers – New Research

Originally published on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012
GENERAL HEALTH, Urgent Care by

damageIf you’re at a pub having a few drinks and you’re thinking about reaching for a cigarette, you may want to think twice.  New research published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs has shown that smoking can actually make your hangovers worse which may leave you wondering if you should finally quit smoking.

Quit Smoking to Reduce Hangover Severity

Researchers from Brown University studied data from 113 university students from a mid-western university in the United States over a period of eight weeks to investigate the effect of smoking and drinking on hangovers. These students were asked to complete online surveys that asked them about their prior day drinking and smoking habits as well as their present day hangover symptoms (tiredness, headache, nausea and concentration difficulties). The researchers looked at data on days when alcohol consumption was high enough to experience hangover symptoms the following day and then looked at data from lighter drinking days.

The researchers found that when looking at data from days when there was a relatively high blood alcohol concentration (BAC), estimated at 110mg/dl, smoking significantly increased the odds of experiencing a hangover. In addition, on heavy drinking days, smoking also increased the severity of the hangover that an individual experienced.

The researchers concluded that “smoking more on heavy drinking days affects hangover sensitivity and severity”.

Quit Smoking, Hangovers and Nicotine

While the exact way in which smoking and hangovers are related is not fully understood, researchers point to nicotine in cigarettes as a possible culprit. They suggest that the increase in severity of hangovers may have to do with the pharmacological effects that nicotine has on the body’s nervous system. The researchers of this study also point out that previous research has found that nicotine receptors in the brain have an effect on subjective drinking responses. Smoking and drinking combined, increase dopamine (the feel good chemical) in the brain.

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And while some researchers feel it may be the nicotine that is responsible for the nasty hangovers, others point to acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is created by smoking and builds up in your tissues when alcohol is consumed and is responsible for many hangover symptoms.

Hangovers and Smoking Cessation

Smoking is the leading causes of preventable death in the United States. It is no surprise that there are many health benefits associated with smoking cessation, including a decreased chance of suffering from a severe hangover. Soon after you quit smoking, your circulation will start to improve, your blood pressure will start to normalize and breathing will become easier. You will also notice that your sense of smell and taste start to improve as well. Your risk of cancer also decreases with each year that you are smoke-free. All of these health benefits mean that you’re likely going to live longer when you make the decision to quit smoking.

You’ve Decided to Quit Smoking, Now What?

If you’ve made the decision to quit smoking, you’ve taken the first step. But, sticking to your decision may be difficult. While going cold turkey is an option, there are many smoking cessation aids available to help you through the transition. You may benefit from smoking cessation manuals and/or counseling. Some smoking cessation medical products help to control your nicotine cravings and help to fight your nicotine addiction, so these products may be beneficial for you. Speak to your medical professional if you believe you would benefit from smoking cessation programs and/or aids. They will help to keep start you on the right path towards a smoke-free life.





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