Tobacco, alcohol and other drug use among college students

J Subst Abuse. 1994;6(1):105-15. doi: 10.1016/s0899-3289(94)90143-0.


Smoking, binge drinking, and illicit drug use remain common among college students. The purpose of this study was to characterize college students who smoke, and to determine the relationship between smoking behavior and alcohol and illicit drug use. Cigarette smoking, alcohol use and illicit drug use practices were surveyed at ten public colleges in Virginia. A total of 3,374 undergraduate respondents from eight schools (those with response rates > 20%) were analyzed. The one-year smoking prevalence was 23.5%. Smokers were significantly more likely to be white, female, and to have lower life satisfaction and grade point averages than nonsmokers. Students classified themselves as regular or occasional smokers. Smoking was significantly associated with binge drinking in the last two weeks and with marijuana, cocaine, and LSD use in the past year. Except for binge drinking, the associations were stronger for regular than for occasional smokers. Cigarette smoking, even occasional use, identifies a subgroup of college students who are at increased risk of binge drinking and illicit drug use. This information may be useful in developing targeted drug prevention programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / complications*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / psychology