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Research Summary

Smoking Among Patients With Alcohol or Drug Use Disorders

The prevalence of smoking is much higher in people with alcohol or drug use disorders.  However, neither the specific relationship between smoking and alcohol or drug use use nor the impact of gender on this relationship is clearly understood. Therefore, researchers analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of 42,565 U.S. adults who participated in a survey on alcohol and related conditions.

  • Prevalence of daily smoking was 21% among the total sample, 40% among people with a current alcohol use disorder (abuse or dependence), and 55% among people with a current drug use disorder.
  • Ex-smokers composed about 20% of the total sample, 13% of people with a current alcohol use disorder, and 8% of people with a current drug use disorder.
  • The likelihood of daily smoking, versus never smoking, was highest among women with a current drug use disorder (odds ratio [OR], 6.5), followed by men with a current drug use disorder (OR, 4.6), women with a current alcohol use disorder (OR, 3.5), and men with a current alcohol use disorder (OR, 2.9). These results were statistically significant.

Comments:

Smoking is highly prevalent among people with alcohol or drug use disorders, and quitting smoking is difficult for such patients. Regardless, to help prevent additional smoking-associated morbidity, clinicians should conduct screening and offer appropriate treatment for nicotine dependence for patients with substance use disorders.

Julia H. Arnsten, MD, MPH

Reference:

Husky MH, Paliwal P, Mazure CM, et al. Gender differences in association with substance use diagnoses and smoking. J Addict Med. 2007;1(3):161-164.


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