Smoking Could Lead to Alcohol Dependence
A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience indicates that smoking leads to alcoholism. This conclusion came from a study done on groups of male rats.
Researchers first took the rats and split them into two groups, group A and B. Both groups were given access to alcohol to determine the amount of alcohol they could safely consume. They found that the rats consumed what would be equivalent to a human consuming two beers. After this amount, the rats started to show signs of intoxication and would stop drinking.
They then took group A and exposed them to alcohol vapor in order to make them dependent. This process took about two months. This group of alcohol dependent rats were drinking an equivalent of a 6 pack of beer when they were given access. Researchers also exposed group B to alcohol vapor in hopes of making them dependent. However, they also exposed this group of rats to nicotine. Unlike group A, the nicotine exposed group B developed an alcohol dependence in just two weeks, which is less than half the amount of time it took the other group.
Finally, the researchers tried to take rats in groups A and B off the alcohol. They added quinine, which is bitter, in order to deter the rats from drinking. Most rats stopped, except for the nicotine-exposed rats in group B. This showed that the drinking turned into a compulsive behavior which led to the conclusion that nicotine can lead to alcohol dependence.