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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008 Aug 1;96(3):263-70. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2008.03.011. Epub 2008 May 23.

Do brief interventions which target alcohol consumption also reduce cigarette smoking? Systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Centre for Research on Drugs & Health Behaviour, Department of Public Health & Policy, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, United Kingdom.


Brief interventions are known to be effective in changing both substance use and other health-compromising behaviors. It is unknown whether they may have secondary effects on behaviors which are not specifically targeted. The literature on brief alcohol interventions was selected to explore this possibility, with a study focus on secondary impact on cigarette smoking. The CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE and PSYCINFO bibliographic databases were searched for reviews of brief alcohol intervention studies published in English language, peer-reviewed journals between 1995 and 2005. Authors of primary studies identified in the reviews were contacted to ascertain whether or not their studies had collected cigarette smoking data and, if available, to obtain data. Random effect models were used to pool data for meta-analysis. Eleven review papers reported the results of 41 individual primary studies which were included in this systematic review. Fourteen of these studies collected cigarette smoking outcome data, of which 7 studies still had information available and provided these data for meta-analysis. There were no between-group differences in smoking cessation or reduction across these studies. High levels of smoking cessation were detected in both brief intervention and control groups with much heterogeneity between studies. Brief alcohol interventions do not also reduce cigarette smoking, and it appears unlikely that there exist other important secondary effects. The behavioral consequences of brief intervention study participation itself warrant further study.

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