Increasing the price of cigarettes has a direct effect on the amount of alcohol consumed, according to a new study that looked at the impact on smokers with potential for alcohol abuse.
The study found that a tax increase on cigarettes led to a “modest to moderate” decline in alcohol consumption among certain groups of smokers.
The results will be published in the January 2014 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
“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,” said study author Sherry McKee, associate professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. “…Results suggest that increases in cigarette taxes were associated with reductions in alcohol consumption over time among male smokers.”
The study showed those most at risk for the adverse effects of alcohol were male heavy drinkers, young adults and low-income drinkers, which suggested a cigarette tax could lower those risks because they would smoke less and thus drink less.
Data was examined from interviews with more than 21,473 alcohol consumers, conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.