Smoking hampers alcohol abuse treatment

Smoking hampers alcohol abuse treatment
Highlights

Smoking can inhibit the success of treatment for alcohol abuse, says a study, adding that it puts people who are addicted to both tobacco and alcohol in a double bind.

Smoking can inhibit the success of treatment for alcohol abuse, says a study, adding that it puts people who are addicted to both tobacco and alcohol in a double bind.

According to findings by the University of Buffalo' Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) in the US, people who smoke have shorter stays in alcohol treatment programmes than non-smokers and may have poorer treatment outcomes than non-smokers.

The study analysed more than 21,000 adult treatment seekers from 253 community outpatient substance abuse clinics across New York State.

"The data suggest that smoking is associated with difficulties in alcohol treatment. Tobacco smokers had shorter treatment durations and were less likely to have achieved their alcohol-related goals at discharge relative to their nonsmoking counterparts," said Kimberly Walitzer, deputy director and senior research scientist at RIA.

This should be a major concern for treatment providers as the majority of people with alcohol disorders are, in fact, smokers, she said.

For women, these associations are even stronger.

Walitzer's data indicate that 67 per cent of women seeking alcohol treatment were smokers, compared to 61 per cent of the men.

The results also show that women who smoke have even more difficult circumstances and poorer alcohol treatment outcomes than men who smoke.

“If people can quit smoking when entering alcohol treatment, they may have better alcohol outcomes,” the authors added.

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