Taxes on cigarettes linked to lower alcohol consumption

Washington: Increase in cigarette taxes has been linked with modest to moderate reductions in alcohol consumption among vulnerable groups, a new research has found.

Vulnerable groups include hazardous drinkers, young adult smokers, and smokers in the lowest income category.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disability in the US, while heavy drinking ranks as the third leading cause of preventable death.

Cigarette taxation has been recognized as one of the most significant policy instruments to reduce smoking.

Given that smoking and drinking often occur together, a first-of-its-kind study has examined cigarette taxation and found that increases are associated with modest to moderate reductions in alcohol consumption among vulnerable groups.

"Smoking and heavy drinking co-occur at alarmingly high rates," Sherry McKee, associate professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine as well as corresponding author for the study, said.

"Tobacco can enhance the subjective effects of alcohol and has been shown to increase the risk for heavy and problematic drinking. Smokers drink more frequently and more heavily than non-smokers, and are substantially more likely than non- smokers to meet criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence.

"The co-occurrence of smoking and drinking is of particular clinical significance given evidence that health consequences exponentially increase with combined versus singular abuse of alcohol and tobacco," she said.

The findings are set to be published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.


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