Dr. Renee Goodwin, a professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH), and colleagues examined the cigarette smoking quit rate among a representative sample of U.S. adults with and without heavy alcohol use. The findings were published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
The research team used data from the National Household Survey on Drug Use, an annual cross-sectional study of U.S. persons. Quit rate (i.e., the rate of former smokers to ever smokers) was calculated annually from 2002 to 2014 (for heavy alcohol use) and 2015 (for alcohol use disorders). Time trends in quit rates by alcohol use disorders / heavy alcohol use status were tested using linear regression.
The prevalence of past-month cigarette smoking was much higher for persons with alcohol use disorder compared to those without alcohol use disorder (38% vs. 18%) and for those heavy alcohol use compared to those without heavy alcohol use (49% vs. 19%). In the most recent data year, the quit rate for persons with alcohol use disorders was approximately half that of persons without alcohol use disorders (26% versus 49%) and for persons with heavy alcohol use was less than half that of persons without heavy alcohol use (22% versus 48%). Over time, the smoking quit rate increased for persons with and without alcohol use disorders/heavy alcohol use and the rate of increase was greater for persons with alcohol use disorders/heavy alcohol use. Yet, quit rates for persons with alcohol use disorders and heavy alcohol use remained much lower than persons without alcohol use disorders and heavy alcohol use.
The research team concluded that it may be beneficial for public health and clinical efforts to incorporate screenings and treatment for tobacco use into programs for adults with alcohol use disorders and heavy alcohol use.
Discussing the results, Dr. Goodwin explains, “Our results suggest that tobacco control efforts have not been as successful in reaching persons with alcohol use problems, as quit rates among those with heavy alcohol use are approximately half that of those without problem alcohol use. In order to decrease the prevalence of cigarette use, tobacco control efforts need to develop innovative approaches aimed at reaching those with alcohol use problems.”
Weinberger, A., Gbedemah, M. and Goodwin, R. (2017). Cigarette smoking quit rates among adults with and without alcohol use disorders and heavy alcohol use, 2002–2015: A representative sample of the United States population. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 180, pp.204-207.