Mayo clinic study finds current tobacco and past alcohol use linked to greater health problems

December 24, 2001

ROCHESTER, MINN. -- A Mayo Clinic study has found that patients suffered a greater decrease in general and mental health if they were currently smoking and also had an alcohol problem.

The researchers report in the journal Addictive Behaviors, Volume #26, 2001 that current tobacco use was predictive of a history of an alcohol problem and vice versa.

"One clinical implication is that all hospitalized patients that use tobacco could be administered a brief instrument to screen for alcoholism," said Christi A. Patten, Ph.D., an investigator in Mayo ClinicÕs Nicotine Research Center and the primary author of the study.

Data were collected using a self-administered survey distributed by nursing staff to adult inpatients registered on April 27, 1994, at Mayo Clinic. There were 589 respondents who were classified into four sub groups based on current tobacco use status and history of an alcohol problem: current tobacco use only; history of an alcohol problem only; both; or neither.

What they found was that patients with both current tobacco use and an alcohol problem history reported markedly lower scores on health status measures of general and mental health compared to the other three subgroups. Moreover, current tobacco use and history of an alcohol problem were each associated with increased psychological distress.
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Shelly Plutowski
Mayo Clinic External Relations
507-284-5005 (days)
507-284-2511 (evenings)
email: newsbureau@mayo.edu

Mayo Clinic

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