Faculty Articles

Alcohol Abusers Who Want To Quit Smoking: Implications for Clinical Treatment

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Drug and Alcohol Dependence





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Although most alcohol abusers are dependent on nicotine, studies of such individuals have been scarce. Consequently, little information is available for advising clients who wish to consider resolving both problems. Clients entering an outpatient alcohol treatment program who were also current smokers were asked about their temporal preferences for changing their alcohol and cigarette use. Over three-quarters of alcohol abusers who were also smokers when asked said they would be willing to consider stopping smoking during or after treatment for an alcohol problem. Individuals who were interested in quitting smoking cigarettes while in treatment for an alcohol problem were different from those who did not want to stop smoking, and such differences may influence their ability to successfully address both problems together. Compared to those who preferred to change their drinking first then address their smoking, those who said they would be willing to address both problems (i.e. smoking and drinking) together in treatment were not only considerably more likely to think that quitting smoking would affect quitting drinking, but also more likely to be planning to quit smoking in the next six months. These results suggest that some individuals whose alcohol problems are not severe and who also smoke cigarettes will be more receptive to a dual recovery approach than others. In the absence of research findings, health care practitioners who encounter individuals who drink heavily and smoke cigarettes should at a minimum explore the option of dual cessation with their clients. The clinical and research implications of the present results are discussed.



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