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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2006 Apr 28;82(2):91-102. Epub 2005 Sep 26.

Do smokers with alcohol problems have more difficulty quitting?

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Vermont, 38 Fletcher Place, Burlington, 05401, USA.


This review compares nicotine dependence and the ability to stop smoking in smokers with no alcohol problems to smokers with current, past or lifetime (i.e., either current or past) alcohol problems. We searched computerized databases, meeting abstracts and made requests to listserves and grantees for comparisons of the above categories. We could not use meta-analyses and, thus, used consistency across studies to make conclusions. We located 17 articles on nicotine dependence, 12 on the ability to quit on a given attempt, 7 on lifetime quitting and 2 on quit attempts. Smokers with current and past alcohol problems were more nicotine dependent than smokers with no alcohol problems. Surprisingly, smokers with past problems were as able to quit on a given attempt as smokers with no problems. We hypothesize this may be because such smokers learned skills in resolving their alcohol problems that neutralized their increased nicotine dependence. Smokers with current or past alcohol problems appear to be less likely to quit in their lifetime. Given their equal ability to quit on a given attempt, this could be due to fewer quit attempts; however, whether this is actually so is unclear. Our results that smokers with past alcohol problems can quit as easily as those without alcohol problems suggest that smokers with past alcohol problems may respond to minimal treatments for smoking cessation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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