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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2009 Nov;207(1):107-17. doi: 10.1007/s00213-009-1638-9.

Alcohol-induced increases in smoking behavior for nicotinized and denicotinized cigarettes in men and women.

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Department of Psychiatry, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.



Alcohol has been shown to increase smoking urges and smoking behavior. However, alcohol's effects on specific components of smoking behavior for nicotine versus non-nicotine factors and potential sex differences in this response have not been investigated.


Forty-two young male and female non-dependent, heavy social drinking smokers participated in two double-blind laboratory sessions. They were randomized to either an alcohol (0.8 g/kg; n = 29) or placebo (n = 13) beverage pre-administration group. After beverage consumption, they were assessed for smoking urges and then given the opportunity to smoke cigarettes which were either all nicotinized (0.6 mg/cigarette) or denicotinized (< or =0.05 mg/cigarette) over a 3-h period; smoking behavior was quantified by a smoking topography device. Subjects took standardized puffs of the session's cigarette both before and after beverage administration to provide a reference when making future smoking choices.


Alcohol, compared with placebo beverage, increased both men's and women's smoking urge, as well as subjective ratings of smoking reference puffs for either nicotinized or denicotinized cigarettes. In terms of smoking choice behavior, regardless of cigarette type, alcohol (>placebo) increased men's smoking behavior, including puff count, volume, and duration. In contrast, for women, smoking topography measures did not differ between alcohol and placebo conditions.


In summary regardless of nicotine content, in men, alcohol increased smoking urge and behavior, whereas in women, alcohol increased smoking urge but did not increase smoking behavior. These results indicate that the mechanisms underlying co-use of alcohol and tobacco in women may be more complex than in men.

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