Treatment of smoking cessation in smokers with past alcohol/drug problems

J Subst Abuse Treat. 1993 Mar-Apr;10(2):181-7. doi: 10.1016/0740-5472(93)90043-2.


A review of existing scientific studies suggests (1) smoking is very common among alcoholics, (2) many recovering alcoholics die from smoking-related diseases, (3) recovering alcoholics are interested in smoking cessation, (4) recovering alcoholics can stop smoking, (5) smoking cessation does not appear to increase relapse to alcohol, and (6) possible treatments for smoking cessation among alcoholics have not been empirically tested. In a prior study of ours on nicotine gum, the 38 subjects (12% of the sample) who self-reported a past but not present history of alcohol/drug problems appeared more dependent on nicotine, were less likely to stop smoking (1 year quit rates = 7 vs. 19%) but appeared to benefit more from nicotine replacement therapy (+10 vs. +1% increase in 1 year quit rates with nicotine vs. placebo gum) than subjects without this history. Although these results are preliminary, they suggest recovering alcoholics might benefit from nicotine replacement therapy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation*
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Chewing Gum
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs*
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage
  • Psychotropic Drugs*
  • Smoking Cessation* / methods*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / psychology
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / rehabilitation
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*


  • Chewing Gum
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Psychotropic Drugs
  • Nicotine