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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


CHAIEB, José A .  and  CASTELLARIN, Cassio. Association between smoking and alcoholism: initiation into the major human dependencies. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1998, vol.32, n.3, pp.246-254. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: To establish the existence of an association between smoking and alcoholism in a general population sample and to compare two samples of alcoholics and non alcoholics matched by age and sex. MATERIAL AND METHOD: Health Teaching Unit Murialdo - State Health Department - RS - Brazil in a limited area of 65,000 predicted population a cross-sectional study was undertaken in which adults of 35 y.o. or more were sampled. Of this sample, the alcoholics were selected by applying the CAGE Scale. A non alcoholic random sample was compared with the alcoholic one. It was identified 129 alcoholics among 1,387 adults of 35 y.o. or more. From the general list of adults a random sample of 129 non alcoholics were selected and matched to the alcoholics by age and sex. Both groups were compared. Data were obtained from a 19 item questionnaire. Answers to generic questions were obtained from all family members, such as: income and smoking habit. Specific data were obtained from the interviewed person of 35 y.o. or more, such as: schooling grade, occupation, diseases and respiratory symptoms, smoking habit, Peak Expiratory Flow and alcoholism. RESULTS: Of 129 alcoholics, 109 (84.5%) were male and 20 (15.5%) were female. The smoking prevalence among alcoholics (67%) was greater than among non alcoholics (43%) (p < .002). The kind of occupation distinguished both groups. Among alcoholics unemployment and elementary levels of occupation are more usual while among the abstemious intermediate and superior levels are more frequent (p <.003). The family as well as the personal income are higher among the abstemious (p < .001). There is an increased non significant number of non whites, illiterate people and family smokers among the alcoholics (p < .06). The tendency to start smoking earlier in life and to smoke more cigarettes for a longer period of time was noticed among alcoholics. CONCLUSIONS: There is a statistical association between smoking and alcoholism in the sample studied. Alcoholism in this sample is more prevalent among people who fulfil the following conditions: smokers, low income, rudimentary cultural and professional levels.

Keywords : Smoking; Alcoholism.

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