Comorbid cigarette and alcohol addiction: epidemiology and treatment

J Addict Dis. 1998;17(1):55-66. doi: 10.1300/J069v17n01_06.


The close association of nicotine addiction and alcoholism is well established. As many as 80% of alcoholics smoke, and 30% of smokers are alcoholics. The mortality from cigarette smoking and alcoholism individually is very high, as an estimated 400,000 deaths from tobacco and 100,000 deaths from alcoholism are reported annually. Cigarettes and alcohol interact to cause certain cancers, e.g., head and neck. Only recently has attention been focused on the role of tobacco in abstinent alcoholics. An important study found high rates of mortality from tobacco in abstinent alcoholics in recovery. However, the mortality rates from alcoholism were high and predominant. Of great importance is that studies show that abstinence from alcohol essentially eliminates the premature deaths or increased mortality rates from active alcoholism. Similar studies showing a reduction in mortality from abstinence in nicotine addiction have not been forthcoming. The importance of treating nicotine addiction, however, is clear to reduce the high mortality rates from tobacco smoking in active or abstinent alcoholics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology