Smoking characteristics and alcohol use among women in treatment for alcohol use disorder

Krysten W. Bold, Rachel L. Rosen, Marc L. Steinberg, Elizabeth E. Epstein, Barbara S. McCrady, Jill M. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Understanding the association between smoking and alcohol use among women may help inform the delivery of targeted interventions to address both of these health behaviors. Methods: This study analyzed data from N = 138 women enrolled in a randomized clinical trial comparing female-specific individual versus group cognitive-behavior therapy for alcohol use disorder (AUD). We assessed cigarette use patterns, participants’ interest in quitting smoking and motivation to quit smoking during treatment for AUD, and examined the relationship between smoking and alcohol use before and during alcohol treatment. Results: Over a third of the sample reported smoking cigarettes at baseline (N = 47, 34.1%), with the majority of smokers reporting daily cigarette use. At baseline, those who smoked reported a high interest in quitting smoking M = 7.8 out of 10 (SD = 2.7), although most believed they should quit smoking only after achieving some success in quitting drinking (50.0%). However, participants who smoked cigarettes (compared to non-smokers) reported more alcohol abuse and dependence symptoms (p = .001), lower rates of completing the alcohol treatment (p = .03), attended significantly fewer treatment sessions (p = .008), and consumed significantly more drinks per day on average both at baseline (p = .002) and during the treatment period (p = .04). Conclusions: Findings suggest that women with AUD who also smoke cigarettes have greater difficulty engaging in or responding to treatment for their alcohol use. However, these participants reported high interest in quitting smoking but low perceived readiness during AUD treatment, suggesting that motivational interventions should be considered that could take advantage of the opportunity to treat women for both of these co-occurring behaviors while in treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106137
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Feb 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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