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The bad combination

People who drink and smoke have to drink more to feel drunk than non-smoking drinkers – placing them at greater risk of damage to their brains, livers and hearts, a new study suggests.

The study shows nicotine substantially reduces blood alcohol levels in rats, which are considered a good model for humans.Since alcohol abusers generally "drink to effect", they will end up drinking more alcohol to get an expected level of intoxication, say the researchers from the Texas A&M University System Health Centre.//

Although their blood alcohol level would be reduced by smoking, the levels of acetaldehyde, a product of alcohol breakdown, would not.So in heavy drinkers who smoke, acetaldehyde would build up and have an adverse effect on the brain, liver and heart, the researchers say.

"It’s known that smokers drink more alcohol than non-smokers, and that people who misuse alcohol are more likely to smoke than those who do not misuse alcohol," says the university’s Susan E. Maier.


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