Study goals were 2-fold: 1) to examine differences in demographic and clinical characteristics of smokers who fell into 3 diagnostic groups: alcohol abuse/dependence only (ALC), cocaine abuse/dependence only (COC), and mixed alcohol and cocaine abuse/dependence (ALC + COC); and 2) to determine the degree to which diagnostic grouping predicted short-term abstinence from smoking.
Retrospective chart reviews were conducted by using the treatment records of male veterans (N = 175) who participated in a voluntary smoking cessation program during their stay in residential substance dependence treatment.
The ALC group smoked more heavily, had higher levels of nicotine dependence, and reported more emotional problems than the other 2 groups. Short-term abstinence rates were high across the 3 groups (38%, 58%, and 57% for the ALC, COC, and ALC + COC groups, respectively). Lighter smoking at treatment entry, non-white race, and a diagnosis of cocaine abuse/dependence (with or without alcohol abuse/dependence) predicted short-term abstinence in the program.
Substance misusers motivated to quit smoking can initiate smoking abstinence at relatively high rates with the aid of combined pharmacotherapy and intensive group counseling. White subjects who smoke more heavily and have a diagnosis of alcohol abuse/dependence only have lower success rates for abstinence initiation.