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Recent Dev Alcohol. 2003;16:335-59.

Treatment of tobacco dependence in alcoholics.

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  • 1Nicotine Dependence Center, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.


Because of the high morbidity and mortality that alcoholic smokers experience from tobacco-caused diseases, treatment for tobacco dependence among alcoholics is warranted. Much progress has been made during the last decade in addressing tobacco dependence in alcoholism treatment units. Treatment of tobacco dependence in alcoholic smokers does not seem to cause excessive relapse to drinking and, in fact, stopping smoking may enhance abstinence from drinking. Therefore, treatment for alcoholic smokers should take place whenever and wherever the patient comes in contact with the health care system. Because alcoholic smokers as a rule are more dependent on nicotine than their nonalcoholic counterparts, they may need more intensive pharmacotherapy and behavioral therapy. Because many of them have experienced 12-step approaches to recovery, that same technology can be used to initiate and maintain abstinence from tobacco use. Moreover, several pharmacologic options exist to treat tobacco dependence in alcoholic smokers. However, the efficacy of several pharmacologic therapies for alcoholic smokers needs to be tested. In addition, further research is needed on effective treatments for recovering alcoholics of various racial/ethnic backgrounds.

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