Insight Into Alcohol-nicotine Interaction Might Lead To New Quitting Method

In tests on human volunteers, Duke University Medical Center researchers have found that even small amounts of alcohol boost the pleasurable effects of nicotine, inducing people to smoke more when drinking alcoholic beverages. The findings provide a physiological explanation for the common observation that people smoke more in bars. The findings also explain statistics showing that alcoholics tend to smoke more than non-alcoholics, and that smokers are more likely to be alcoholics. The finding, published in the February/March 2004 issue of Nicotine and Tobacco Research, might help elucidate why those who have quit smoking often relapse while drinking alcohol. Such insights might lead to new smoking cessation methods that take the drugs' interaction into account, said Jed Rose, Ph.D., director of the Duke Nicotine Research Program and co-creator of the nicotine patch.

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