Smoking Worsens Hangovers

Cigarette smoking can make hangover symptoms more severe for heavy drinking

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Most ex-smokers can recall with frustration their smelly clothes and hair, as well as worse lung function. But did smoking cigarettes make hangovers worse as well?.

A recent study followed college students’ party habits for eight weeks. The study’s findings showed worse hangover symptoms for students who smoked cigarettes on nights where they drank heavily.

“At the same number of drinks, people who smoke more that day are more likely to have a hangover and have more intense hangovers,” said researchers.

"Don’t smoke, especially when drinking."

Damaris J. Rohsenow, PhD, from the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and a team of researchers investigated the effects of smoking on hangovers from drinking. According to the authors, “Hangover refers to the cluster of unpleasant symptoms of physical distress that occur as blood alcohol falls after an acute incident of drinking to intoxication.”

Hangover symptoms include, but are not limited to: headache, nausea, fatigue, feeling dehydrated or thirsty, slowed mental function.

For the study, 113 college students were given surveys on the Internet, which asked about drug, alcohol and tobacco use. Students were then asked to record any and all drinking, smoking and hangover symptoms each day for eight weeks.

The number of cigarettes smoked on a day where a student drank heavily later that night was linked to the severity of a hangover the following day.

Authors concluded, “Smoking more on heavy drinking days affects hangover sensitivity and severity, possibly because of acute pharmacological effects.”

This study in no way endorses heavy drinking. But Dr. Rohsenow suggested people who choose to engage in heavy drinking should smoke fewer cigarettes to reduce hangover symptoms the following day.

This study was published in December in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Funding support was provided by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Review Date: 
December 6, 2012
Last Updated:
April 11, 2013