Background: Among alcohol-dependent subjects tobacco smoking is very common and causes a variety of health risks. Therefore, it is necessary to reach this high-risk population early with appropriate smoking interventions.
Methods: Smokers in alcohol detoxification treatment were offered to participate in a smoking cessation study. A total of 103 patients was enrolled and randomly assigned to either the experimental group (EG) receiving a cognitive behavioral smoking cessation treatment (CBT) or the control group (CG) receiving autogenic training. Smoking outcomes were measured by self-report and carbon monoxide levels, directly after intervention and 6 months later, where additionally alcohol outcomes were recorded.
Results: There were no differences in smoking quit rates directly after intervention. However, patients in the EG were significantly more likely to reduce their daily cigarette use compared to CG (p=.046). Sub-group analyses revealed that heavy smokers (FTND score ≥ 7) seemed to profit most in the EG regarding cigarette reduction. After 6 months, these positive effects had leveled out. No evidence was found that smoking cessation might jeopardize alcohol outcomes.
Conclusions: Results suggest that alcohol-dependent smokers are interested in smoking interventions even during alcohol detoxification. CBT is promising in short-term smoking outcomes and in the approach of harm reduction, however, long-term effects are desirable. These findings underline the feasibility and the importance to provide smoking cessation interventions to patients in alcohol detoxification treatments.
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