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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2011 Oct 1;118(1):78-82. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2011.02.022. Epub 2011 Mar 26.

Non-daily smoking predicts hazardous drinking and alcohol use disorders in young adults in a longitudinal U.S. sample.

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Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06519, USA.



It is known that daily smoking is associated with the development of alcohol use disorders. However, non-daily smoking is prevalent in young adults and is associated with increased rates of problematic alcohol use in cross-sectional data. It is unknown whether non-daily smoking is predictive of hazardous drinking and alcohol use disorders using longitudinal data. The primary aim of the present investigation was to explore the temporal relationship between non-daily smoking and drinking in young adults, and secondarily, whether college status modified this relationship.


Using Waves 1 (2001-2002) and 2 (2004-2005) of the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), we examined the predictive relationship of smoking status at Wave 1 and change in college status between Waves on alcohol drinking, hazardous drinking, and alcohol abuse and dependence disorders at Wave 2. The sample was restricted to individuals aged 18-25 years at Wave 1.


Daily and non-daily smokers at Wave 1, compared to nonsmokers, were at a greater risk for hazardous drinking and alcohol use disorders at Wave 2, after controlling for Wave 1 drinking. College status did not modify smoking and drinking interactions.


The findings indicate non-daily smoking is predictive of increased, problematic alcohol use among young adults longitudinally and they support increasing evidence that non-daily smokers represent an important population. Future research should be conducted to continue developing targeted interventions. Early treatments for smoking behavior might have a beneficial effect on reducing the development of problematic patterns of alcohol use and alcohol use disorders.

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