Does Smoking Make You Drink More?
Smoking Cigarettes and Drinking May Be Double Trouble, Study Shows
July 24, 2006 -- People may drink more alcohol if they're smoking cigarettes
between sips, a new study shows.
Smoking and drinking often go together, though not all smokers drink and not
all drinkers smoke.
Researchers from Texas A&M University studied interactions between
nicotine, which is found in cigarettes, and alcohol. They studied adult female
rats, but the findings may apply to people.
"Cigarette smoking appears to promote the consumption of alcohol,"
says researcher Wei-Jung Chen, PhD, in a journal news release.
Chen and two other Texas A&M researchers -- Scott Parnell, PhD, and
James West, PhD -- tested alcohol and various nicotine doses on the rats.
The researchers found that when they sent alcohol straight into the rats'
stomach via a tube, the rats had lower blood alcohol levels if they had also
"This may encourage drinkers to drink more to achieve the pleasurable or
expected effect," says Chen.
Nicotine may somehow affect the stomach's handling of alcohol, the
They figured that out by repeating their experiment with one change. They
injected alcohol into the rats' abdominal cavity (the space surrounding the
abdominal organs) instead of piping it into the rats' stomach. Nicotine had no
effect on blood alcohol levels under those conditions, the study shows.
Chen plans to study interactions between alcohol and other drugs. Meanwhile,
he says in the news release that "the current findings should be a warning
to the general public regarding the danger of abusing multiple drugs, since the
pharmacokinetic interactions among these substances are often unpredictable and