FRIDAY, Dec. 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking might hamper treatment for alcohol abuse, a new study indicates.
"The data suggest that smoking is associated with difficulties in alcohol treatment. Tobacco smokers had shorter treatment durations and were less likely to have achieved their alcohol-related goals at discharge relative to their nonsmoking counterparts," study leader Kimberly Walitzer, deputy director and senior research scientist at the Research Institute on Addictions at University at Buffalo, said in a university news release.
"This should be a major concern for treatment providers, as the majority of people with alcohol disorders are, in fact, smokers," she added.
Researchers examined data from more than 21,000 adults who sought alcohol abuse treatment at outpatient clinics in New York State.
Compared with men, women who seek treatment for problem drinking are slightly more likely to smoke. Sixty-seven percent of women seeking alcohol abuse treatment were smokers. That compared to 61 percent of men, the researchers found.
In addition, women who smoke have poorer alcohol treatment outcomes than men who smoke, according to the study published in the January issue of the journal Substance Use and Misuse.
"Previous research indicates that if people can quit smoking when entering alcohol treatment, they may have better alcohol outcomes. However, simultaneous cessation is a task that is very challenging to accomplish," Walitzer said.
Although the study found an association between smoking and difficulties in alcohol treatment, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has more about treatment for alcohol problems.