Recent research on laboratory rats concludes that nicotine substantially reduces blood-alcohol levels:
Nicotine ‘Sobers Up’ Drunk Rats
A new study helps to explain why smokers tend to have boozier nights out than non-smokers. The work, done in rats, shows that a heavy dose of nicotine can cut blood-alcohol levels in half. If cigarettes similarly lower intoxication in people, it could mean that smokers need to drink more than non-smokers to get the same buzz…
To mimic more closely the effect in human drinkers, (Texas A&M researcher Wei-Jung) 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.
(Thanks to attorney Troy McKinney of Houston.)