Numerous studies have shown an association between cigarette smoking and alcohol drinking. Although cigarette craving is thought to be a factor involved in alcohol/smoking behaviors, there is limited research on alcohol's effects on smoking urge. Research published in the April issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research has found that alcohol can cause a dose-dependent increase in smoking urge, even among light smokers.
"Data from epidemiological studies have shown that people who drink alcohol are more likely to smoke, and the heavier the drinking pattern, the heavier the smoking," said Andrea C. King, a psychologist and associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Chicago, and first author of the study. "Prior to our study, research examining alcohol's effects on smoking urge included direct smoking 'cues,' such as having smokers hold a cigarette or view smoking images. However, these cues can exert their own effects on cigarette craving. We wanted to know about the direct effects of alcohol on smoking urges throughout the blood alcohol curve."
In addition, most studies that have examined associations between alcohol and smoking have looked at heavier smoking samples, people who smoke 10 or more cigarettes per day. "In contrast," said Jed E. Rose, director of the Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Research at Duke University Medical Center, "by examining light smokers, the role of nicotine withdrawal symptoms is presumably minimized."
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