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Science Explains Why You Feel The Urge To Smoke When You Are Drunk

Study finds an interesting interplay between nicotine and alcohol.
by Mary Rose A. Hogaza | Oct 29, 2015
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We're pretty sure you have a friend who only smokes or smokes more when he drinks.

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Have you ever wondered why? Why do some people  crave nicotine when there's alcohol?

A study conducted by the University of Missouri Health has an explanation, which boils down to this: The nicotine acts as a stimulant, counteracting the sleepiness caused by alcohol. The lead author of the study, Dr. Mahesh Thakkar had this to say: "We have found that nicotine weakens the sleep-inducing effects of alcohol by stimulating a response in an area of the brain known as the basal forebrain."

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The results were found with the help of mice. Using mice as study subjects, researchers found that rats exposed to alcohol display strong sleep promotion while those exposed to nicotine showed less alcohol-induced sleepiness.

These two elements—alcohol and nicotine—exhibit a mutual relationship between one another, Thakkar explains. "If an individual smokes, then he or she is much more likely to consume more alcohol, and vice-versa. They feed off one another." Having identified the reactions taking place when people smoke and drink, the scientist says that it will help them curb alcohol and nicotine addiction.

In the meantime, now that we know the interplay between the two, we can theoretically cut down on smoking while drinking if we don't drink during the nights we lack sleep or we stop drinking when we’re already feeling sleepy. Easier said than done, of course.

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