Another reason to rethink that late-night cigarette: Smoking DOES make your hangover worse
People who smoke before drinking more likely to experience a hangover and more intense symptoms than those who don'tCigarette smoke contains the chemical acetaledhyde, which is also present in alcohol and has been linked to hangoversResearchers suggest the nicotine in cigarettes could have a negative effect on the nervous system
12:19 GMT, 5 December 2012
You could regret it tomorrow: Smoking was found to worsen hangover symptoms among students in a U.S study
For anyone who has had one too many drinks on a night out, a dry mouth, pounding head and nausea will be all too familiar symptoms the morning after.
But now scientists say your hangover could feel a whole lot worse if you smoke as well.
A team of scientists from Brown University found this effect wasn't because smokers drank more.
Lead author Dr Damaris Rohsenow, Brown University in the U.S, 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.'
Her team controlled for other factors as well, such as whether students reported drug use in the past year. Smoking itself was linked to an increased risk of hangover compared with not smoking at all.
Dr Rohsenow said that raises the likelihood that there is some direct effect of tobacco smoking on hangovers, although the exact mechanisms are unclear.
But according to Cancer Research, tobacco smoke contains the chemical acetaldehyde which is also formed in your tissues when you drink alcohol and is responsible for many nasty hangover symptoms.
Dr Rohsenow said other research has shown that nicotine receptors in the brain are involved in our subjective response to drinking. For example, smoking and drinking at the same time boosts the release of dopamine, a 'feel-good' brain chemical. So the fact that nicotine and alcohol are connected in the brain may explain why smoking is tied to hangovers.
The findings were based on a web survey of 113 college students who recorded their drinking and smoking habits, and any hangover symptoms, every day for eight weeks.
Overall, when students drank heavily – the equivalent of five or six cans of beer in about an hour – those who'd smoked more on that same day had higher odds of suffering a hangover the next morning and suffered more when they did.
Symptoms included headaches, feeling more tired than usual, nausea and difficulty concentrating.
Dr Rohsenow said there is also evidence that a hangover affects attention and reaction time in the short term, so it might be unwise to drive or work in safety sensitive occupations with a hangover.
TIPS TO HELP KEEP THAT HANGOVER AT BAY
According to the NHS hangover cures are generally a myth and the best way to avoid one is not to drink or keep within reasonable limits. However, they have suggested the following to help keep hangovers at bay…
Don't drink on an empty stomach. Before you go out, have a meal
that includes carbohydrates (such as pasta or rice) or fats. The food
will help slow down the body’s absorption of alcohol. Don't drink dark-coloured drinks if you've found that you're
sensitive to them. They contain natural chemicals called congeners
(impurities), which irritate blood vessels and tissue in the brain and
can make a hangover worse. Drink water or non-fizzy soft drinks in between each alcoholic
drink. Carbonated (fizzy) drinks speed up the absorption of alcohol into
your system. Drink a pint or so of water before you go to sleep. Keep a glass of water by the bed to sip if you wake up during the night.
However, no-one is sure yet whether hangovers may signal some type of damage to the brain, but smoking is already known from other studies to aggravate the ill effects on the brain caused by years of heavy drinking.
Dr Rohsenow said the findings, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, suggest that if smokers are going to indulge in heavy drinking, it would be wise to at least cut down on cigarettes.
Andrew McNeill from the Institute of Alcohol, said people on a night out should have soft drinks between alcoholic ones, stay hydrated and avoid darker drinks with the greater hangover potential.