, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 619-633
Date: 26 Apr 2013

The Impact of Tobacco Smoking on Treatment for Comorbid Depression and Alcohol Misuse

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Tobacco use is a major public health concern, and is associated with a number of mental illnesses as well as increased alcohol/other drug (AOD). Research into treatment for individuals experiencing such comorbidities is limited. Participants (n = 447) were those enrolled in the Depression and Alcohol Integrated and Single-focused Interventions project (Baker et al. 2010), and the Self Help for Alcohol/other drugs and DEpression project (Kay-Lambkin et al. Medical Journal of Australia 195:S44–S50, 2011a, Journal of Medical Internet Research 13(1):e11p11, b), who reported current depression and hazardous alcohol use at entry to the study. Smoking cessation was not targeted in, nor a goal of, treatment. After controlling for socioeconomic variables, tobacco use was not associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms at baseline; however heavy smokers (30+ cigarettes per day) consumed significantly more alcohol at baseline than did non-smokers (13 vs. 9 standard drinks per day). Baseline smoking severity did not impact on depression or alcohol use outcomes over a 12-month period. Reductions in tobacco use between baseline and 3-month follow-up were significantly associated with reductions in depression and alcohol consumption over the same time period. The study results suggest that tobacco use does not interfere with treatment for depression and alcohol use problems, and adds weight to the idea of considering specific treatment for tobacco use in the context of treatment for alcohol/other drug use.