Aims: Cigarette smoking and gambling often co-occur, but very little is known about smoking or its correlates in disordered gamblers. This study compared gambling and psychosocial problems in treatment-seeking gamblers who smoke versus those who do not.
Methods: At intake to gambling treatment programs, gamblers completed the addiction severity index (ASI) and gambling questionnaires. Subjects were categorized into non-daily smokers (n=107) and daily smokers (n=210). Differences in demographics, gambling variables and ASI composite scores were compared between the groups.
Results: The daily smokers were more likely to have a history of treatment for a substance use disorder than the non-daily smokers. After controlling for substance abuse treatment histories, gender and age, the daily smokers demonstrated more severe gambling, family/social and psychiatric problems. Compared to non-daily smokers, the daily smokers gambled on more days and spent more money gambling; they also 'craved' gambling more and had lower perceived control over their gambling. The daily smokers were more likely to be taking psychiatric medications, and they experienced psychiatric symptoms, especially anxiety symptoms, on a greater number of days than non-daily smokers.
Implications: Results from this study suggest that about two-thirds of treatment-seeking gamblers are current daily cigarette smokers, and smoking status is associated with more severe gambling and psychiatric symptoms. These results warrant further investigation of smoking in gamblers and whether smoking adversely affects the course of treatment or outcomes among gamblers.