- Alcohol and tobacco are the two most frequently "co-abused" substances in the general population.
- Alcoholics, the heaviest of drinkers, also tend to be the heaviest of smokers.
- A recent study has discovered that nicotine (in the form of tobacco) increases alcohol consumption.
- Future treatment options may need to address the two addictions simultaneously.
It is no secret that alcohol beverages and tobacco are often consumed/used at the same time. The exact mechanisms,
however, for the concurrent use of the two substances have stumped researchers for some time. A recent study
published in the February edition of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research
, has shown that nicotine,
the active ingredient in smoking, increases alcohol consumption.
"We knew that many more alcoholics smoked than members of the general population," said Dzung Anh L, senior
scientist at the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health, assistant professor of pharmacology at the University of
Toronto, and the study's lead author. "We also knew that the active ingredient in smoking is nicotine. So we asked
ourselves: Does nicotine increase alcohol consumption?"
Of the five experiments that comprised L's study, three confirmed their suspicions. "We found that nicotine can
indeed promote alcohol consumption," said L. "Furthermore, it's likely that nicotine and alcohol can act through
the same rewarding system in the brain."
Nicotine is defined as "a poisonous volatile alkaloid derived from tobacco." It is also the 'addictive' component
of tobacco. On average, between 80 and 90 percent of the nicotine that reaches the lungs through cigarette smoking
is absorbed into the body. After reaching the brain, nicotine activates a group of proteins called nicotinic
receptors. These proteins, located on the surface of certain brain cells, normally regulate a number of
physiological functions, some of which may contribute to aspects of reinforcement or dePage: 1 2 3 Related biology news :1
Contact: Dzung Anh Le, Ph.D.
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research
. Nicotine exposure in aging hearts2
. USF study: Nicotine antagonist relieves depression in children with Tourettes3
. Nicotine shows anti-depressant effects in an animal model of depression4
. Susceptibility Genes For Nicotine Addiction5
. Gene Variant Found That Can Help Protect Against Nicotine Addiction6
. Study is another step in determining if curry can protect against Alzheimers7
. Two cholesterol-lowering statin drugs reduce another marker of coronary-artery disease8
. UT Southwestern researchers find another clue to secrets of cellular aging9
. New, improved drugs could result from first-ever transfer of DNA information from one species of streptomyces to another10
. Catalytic converters fix one pollution problem, cause another11
. Rice research another step forward for green revolution