For Young Smokers, Cigarettes Paired Best with Alcohol

Findings on co-use of cigarettes and alcohol could have implications for smoking cessation efforts.

beer and cigarettesWhen it comes to health, cigarettes are never a good thing. But certain situations might make smoking more appealing to young adults.

A new study found that young adults said they felt more pleasure from smoking cigarettes while drinking alcohol than they did from smoking cigarettes while using marijuana.

And that could have implications for how doctors help people quit smoking, said co-first study author Johannes Thrul, PhD.

“Our findings point to different reasons why people co-use cigarettes with marijuana [more] than with alcohol,” Dr. Thrul, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California – San Francisco’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, said in a press release. “Smoking cessation interventions should highlight these differences and address co-use to effectively help people cope with triggers to smoke.”

Past research has suggested that young adults may associate smoking cigarettes with drinking alcohol or using marijuana. The current study may be the first to find that co-using alcohol and cigarettes appears to be more pleasurable for young adults than co-using marijuana and cigarettes, the study authors noted.

This study looked at 500 United States participants who were between the ages of 18 and 25. These patients said they smoked cigarettes and that they had recently used alcohol or marijuana.

The study participants indicated in surveys that they smoked more than 40 percent of the collective cigarettes they used while using alcohol or marijuana, according to this study.

On average, participants reported that they derived more enjoyment from smoking cigarettes while drinking alcohol — and that went for marijuana users in the study, too.

Marijuana users reported that, on average, they didn’t feel increased pleasure from smoking cigarettes while using marijuana, this study found.

This study was published April 18 in the journal Addiction Research & Theory.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse funded this research. The study authors disclosed no potential conflicts of interest.


University of California – San Francisco, “For young adults, cigarettes more pleasurable with alcohol than with pot”–fya041417.php
Addiction Research and Theory, “Young adults report increased pleasure from smoking cigarettes when drinking alcohol but not when using marijuana”
Written by: Alex Lindley | Medically reviewed by: Dr Robert Carlson, M.D.