People are just realising why you crave a cigarette after drinking alcohol

A lot of people find that they are able to not smoke on a day-to-day basis.

However, many feel that as soon as they have an alcoholic drink, everything changes.

But have you ever thought about why that is?

Well now scientists have explained exactly why it happens.

According to boffins, there’s a couple of things going on.

First, your previous nicotine intake has affected your memory, and secondly, your dopamine levels drop.

According to a 2009 study, carried out by Dr John Dani and researchers from University of Pennsylvania, nicotine has a stronger impact when forming neuronal connections.

Dr Dani explained: "Compared to injections of saline, nicotine strengthened neuronal connections, sometimes up to 200%.

"And this strengthening of connections underlies new memory formation."

So, for all those days, months or years you did smoke and drink, you were unconsciously setting up fond memories.

Now, when you start drinking again, that bit of your memory reminds you of this and you start to crave nicotine.

Secondly, both alcohol and nicotine boost dopamine in the brain – making you feel happier.

This may leave you thinking ‘Well if I have cigarettes and booze together I’ll be even happier, right?’

Wrong, actually – at least according to another study by Dr Dani, which looked at the dopamine levels in rats.

It found the rats who were given nicotine consumed more alcohol but didn’t see a spike in their dopamine levels.

Basically, the study found that mixing alcohol and nicotine actually makes you less happy.

As well as that, Dr Dani noted that people can then end up drinking and smoking more because they're keen to up their dopamine levels, resulting in a bit of vicious cycle.

The best thing to do for you health is to avoid smoking altogether, says Dr Dani, who urged so-called social smokers to knock it on the head.

He told Vice: "What you're describing is called a 'chipper' – somebody who doesn't smoke very often but will under certain circumstances.

"And what I'd recommend is that you just don't. Because it's really, really common for that habit to slide into regular use. And then it'll be really hard to give up."

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