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Level of Involvement with Alcohol and Success at Smoking Cessation in the Lung Health Study
Robert P. Murray, Joseph A. Istvan, Helen T. Voelker, Michael A. Rigdon, M. Dianne Wallace
Objective: This analysis examines the role of alcohol consumption in success at quitting smoking. Method: Participants were 3,977 men and women in the Lung Health Study, a prospective investigation of the effect of smoking cessation and an inhaled bronchodilator on the airways of smokers with mild lung function impairment. Participants reporting more than 25 drinks per week, or 8 or more drinks per occasion once a month or more, or alcoholics who drank in the past year were excluded from the sample. Results: There was no relationship between amount of alcohol consumed at baseline and smoking status after 1 year. Among both men and women receiving a smoking cessation intervention, those who drank eight or more drinks per occasion (binge drinkers) were more likely to be current smokers after 1 year, and to smoke more cigarettes per day than those without a history of binge drinking. These relationships were largely absent among control participants. Participants who identified themselves as former or recovering alcoholics at baseline did not differ from the other participants in their smoking behavior after 1 year. When volume of drinking and drinking of eight or more drinks per occasion were compared in polychotomous ordinal logistic regressions, only binge drinking predicted failure at smoking cessation. Conclusions: Binge but not volume of drinking was related to failure in attempts to quit smoking. The common factor may be that binge drinking and relapse to smoking both represent loss of control. (J. Stud. Alcohol 56: 74-82, 1995)