Smoking may reduce alcohol's effects and promote increased drinking, a US study on rats suggests.
If the same holds true in humans, it may mean that smokers can tolerate drinking more than other people and are therefore at greater risk for alcohol-related problems, BBC News reported.
The rats' blood was tested after they were given varying doses of nicotine and alcohol. The level of alcohol in the rats' blood decreased as their nicotine levels increased.
The researchers said this may be because nicotine somehow delays the movement of alcohol from the stomach into the intestines, which is a major site of absorption for alcohol into the bloodstream.
The findings appear in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
"Since the desired effect of alcohol is significantly diminished by nicotine - particularly among heavy- or binge-drinkers such as college students - this may encourage drinkers to drink more to achieve the pleasurable or expected effect. In other words, cigarette smoking appears to promote the consumption of alcohol," said lead researcher Wei-Jeun Chen, associate professor of neuroscience at Texas A & M Health Science Centre. – (HealthDayNews)
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