Background: The concurrent use of alcohol and tobacco and its deleterious effects have been reported in the western literature. However, studies on the relationship between concurrent alcohol and tobacco use in India are limited. This study outlines the association between concurrent alcohol and tobacco use among a middle-aged and elderly population in a western Indian cohort after controlling for various sociodemographic factors.
Methods: A total of 35 102 men, 45 years of age and above were interviewed for concurrent alcohol and tobacco use. The sample was part of an earlier cohort drawn from the general population. The data were analysed after controlling for age, education, religion and mother-tongue.
Results: Among alcohol users, 51.1% smoked tobacco and 35.6% used smokeless tobacco. The relative risk of alcohol use was highest among those smoking cigarettes or beedis and among those using mishri with betel quid and tobacco. The risk of alcohol use increased with the frequency of tobacco use. The risk also increased with higher amounts of alcohol consumption, but peaked at around 100-150 ml of absolute alcohol use.
Conclusion: The study highlights the association between concurrent alcohol and tobacco use among the Indian population. This has important public health implications since concurrent use of these is synergistic for increased risk of oropharyngeal cancers.