A case-control study compared the natural history of cigarette smoking in alcoholic and nonalcoholic populations to determine why alcoholism and smoking are closely associated. Eighty-three percent of alcoholics were smokers compared to 34% of the nonalcoholic subjects. Compared to other children, children who later became alcoholic were more likely to become regular users of tobacco once they had tried it. Only 7% of alcoholic smokers were successful in their attempts to quit smoking compared to 49% of the nonalcoholic smokers. More research comparing the smoking cessation efforts of alcoholics and nonalcoholics is needed to confirm these findings. Alcoholism is estimated to be 10 times more common among smokers than among nonsmokers. Possible explanations for this include a susceptibility on the part of some individuals to addictive drugs in general, and/or for some individuals tobacco smoking and alcoholism are both sequelae of a propensity to behave irresponsibly. Effects
In tests on human volunteers, Duke University Medical Center researchers have found that even small amounts of alcohol boost the pleasurable effects of nicotine, inducing people to smoke more when drinking alcoholic beverages. The findings provide a physiological explanation for the common observation that people smoke more in bars. The findings also explain statistics showing that alcoholics tend to smoke more than non-alcoholics, and that smokers are more likely to be alcoholics. The finding, published in the February/March 2004 issue of Nicotine and Tobacco Research, might help elucidate why those who have quit smoking often relapse while drinking alcohol. Such insights might lead to new smoking cessation methods that take the drugs' interaction into account, said Jed Rose, Ph.D., director of the Duke Nicotine Research Program and co-creator of the nicotine patch. Such methods would be particularly useful for heavy drinkers and people with an addiction to alcohol, Rose added....
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