Monday, July 24, 2006

Eureka! Smoking Lowers B.A.C.

Here is some potentially good news for incoming freshman girls planning on drinking to excess this coming welcome week, and who would also not like to sleep with that creepy guy living down the hall:

To mimic more closely the effect in human drinkers, Chen and his colleagues studied the effects of binge drinking in adult rats. They injected rats' stomachs with a dose of alcohol roughly equivalent to around four or five drinks in quick succession; enough to make their blood alcohol hit double the United States legal driving limit of 0.08%. The team also gave the animals a range of nicotine doses similar to those in the bodies of light, moderate or heavy smokers.

In 'heavy smoking' animals, the nicotine slashed the rats' peak blood-alcohol level, which came about an hour after injection, in half. Blood alcohol of 'moderate smoking' animals dropped by around 30%, and animals mimicking light smokers were not affected. The results are reported in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

A lower blood-alcohol level means less intoxication: the nicotine-dosed rats were less drunk than their colleagues. But Chen notes that smoking would not ameliorate the other effects of alcohol or prevent a hangover, because the toxic by-products of alcohol breakdown still remain in the body.

Or, for that matter, alcohol poisoning. On second thought, freshman girls, skip the smoking, and drink with friends. Still, this might be a handy tip for everyone to know.

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