Smoking Cessation and Alcohol Abstinence
alcoholics (i.e., nicotine use increases
the speed and accuracy of information
processing) (Ceballos et al. 2006),
which may decease motivation to
change. Thus, researchers and clini-
cians must take into account the char-
acteristics of tobacco dependence in
alcohol-dependent populations when
determining how best to treat these
patients’ tobacco dependence.
Despite concerns to the contrary, the
majority of empirical evidence indi-
cates that smoking cessation (whether
through formal treatment or self-initiated
change) does not pose a risk to success-
ful alcoholism treatment. Not only does
smoking cessation not disrupt alcohol
abstinence, it actually may enhance the
likelihood of longer-term sobriety.
Although research has yet to determine
the extent to which smoking cessation
is impeded by active alcohol use diffi-
culties, the presence of these difficulties
does not prohibit achievement of
tobacco abstinence. Given the substantial
negative health consequences of co-
occurring cigarette smoking and alco-
holism, smoking cessation efforts in the
context of treatment for alcoholism are
likely to yield important benefits to
patients physically, emotionally, socially,
and economically. ■
This work was supported by the fol-
lowing grants: DA016138 awarded to
Barbara W. Kamholz, Ph.D; 1R01–
AA013727 awarded to Domenic Ciraulo,
M.D.; 2R01–AA1164201A awarded to
Dena Davidson, Ph.D.; and the Veterans
Administration Research Enhancement
Award Program (REAP) awarded to
Ronald Goldstein, M.D.
The authors declare that they have no
competing financial interests.
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