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Smoke-free policies in drinking venues predict transitions in alcohol use disorders in a longitudinal U.S. sample

BACKGROUND: Smoke-free legislation prohibiting smoking in indoor public venues, including bars and restaurants, is an effective means of reducing tobacco use and tobacco-related disease. Given the high comorbidity between heavy drinking and smoking, it is possible that the public health benefits of smoke-free policies extend to drinking behaviors. However, no prior study has examined whether tobacco legislation impacts the likelihood of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) over time. The current study addresses this gap in the literature using a large, prospective U.S. sample.METHOD: Using data from the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), we utilized logistic regression to examine whether the implementation of state-wide smoke-free legislation in bars and restaurants between Waves I (2001-2002) and II (2004-2005) predicted changes in DSM-IV AUD status (remission, onset, recurrence) in current drinkers at Wave I (n=19,763) and participants who drank in public ≥once per month (n=5913).RESULTS: Individuals in states that implemented smoke-free legislation in drinking venues had a higher likelihood of AUD remission compared to participants in states without such legislation. Among public drinkers, smoke-free legislation was associated with a greater likelihood of AUD remission and a lower likelihood of AUD onset. These findings were especially pronounced among smokers, men, and younger age groups.DISCUSSION: These results demonstrated the protective effects of smoke-free bar and restaurant policies on the likelihood of AUDs; furthermore, these findings call attention to an innovative legislative approach to decrease the morbidity and mortality associated with AUDs.

Authors: Young-Wolff KC; Hyland AJ; Desai R; Sindelar J; Pilver CE; McKee SA

​Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013 Mar 1;128(3):214-21. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2012.08.028. Epub 2012 Sep 20.

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