Researchers asked 113 US students to report their daily drinking and smoking behavior and hangover symptoms for eight weeks, which included having headaches, feeling tired or nauseous and having difficulty concentrating. The researchers estimated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to control for differences between sexes.
They found that smoking more on heavy drinking days (around six cans of beer or more an hour) affects the presence and severity of hangovers the next day.
“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 author Dr Damaris Rohsenow, from the Centre for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University, when interviewed by BBC News.
“And smoking itself was linked to an increased risk of hangover compared with not smoking at all. That raises the likelihood that there is some direct effect of tobacco smoking on hangovers.”
The reason why smoking affects hangovers is still unclear. The researchers suggest that it has to do with the acute pharmacological effects of nicotine on the nervous system.
“Since alcohol and tobacco both interact with receptors in the brain it is not so surprising that smoking appears to increase the risk of a hangover in people who consume both substances,” said Amanda Sandford, research manager at Action on Smoking and Health.
Jackson KM, Rohsenow DJ, Piasecki TM, Howland J, & Richardson AE (2013). Role of tobacco smoking in hangover symptoms among university students. Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs, 74 (1), 41-9 PMID: 23200149