Parallels to early onset alcohol use in the relationship of early onset smoking with drug use and DSM-IV drug and depressive disorders: findings from the National Longitudinal Epidemiologic Survey

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1999 Mar;23(3):513-22.


This paper endeavored to determine (1) if early onset of regular tobacco use is as predictive of drug use and depressive disorders as it is of alcohol use disorders; and (2) if a biological commonality, as measured by a family history of alcoholism and both early onset and severity of disease, among all three disorders can be evidenced in a large nationally representative sample. Prevalences of lifetime drug use, drug abuse and dependence, and major depressive disorders, as well as indices of their severity, were compared among smoking groups defined by age at onset of regular tobacco use and among nonsmokers. Linear logistic regression analyses, controlling for important covariates, including a family history positive for alcoholism, were conducted to assess the relationship between age at smoking onset and drug use, abuse and dependence, as well as depressive disorders. Both objectives were met. Moreover, results suggest that smoking may play an equally, if not even more, insidious role than drinking in the use and development of dependence on illicit substances and depression.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / genetics
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / genetics
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Diagnosis, Dual (Psychiatry)
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / genetics
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / genetics
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / epidemiology
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / genetics
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / psychology
  • United States / epidemiology