Killing two birds with one stone? Association between tobacco and alcohol consumption

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Objectives Tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption are addictive behaviours, listed among the 10 leading risk factors that cause death and disability in the world, and health consequences are greater if their consumption is combined. There is sparse empirical evidence on the variables that influence the simultaneous consumption of tobacco and alcohol. This study aims to identify the variables that influence the joint decision to consume alcohol and tobacco, and that encourage drinkers to smoke. Study design The sample includes Portuguese adults, mainly aged 50 years and over, extracted from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, covering the year 2011. Methods We propose a bivariate probit model, which allows us to model simultaneously the two goods, accounting for potential correlation between smoking and drinking decisions. Results We identified the variables that influence joint consumption, and tobacco consumption among drinkers, which could be used as policy instruments to develop concerted policies. Prevention policies should focus on males, younger and more educated individuals, as well as on individuals with unhealthy eating habits, because these variables were statistically significant and increased joint consumption. In addition, these characteristics also should be regarded if we want to control tobacco consumption among alcohol consumers. Conclusions The analysis of the interdependence between alcohol and tobacco use presented in this article may allow reducing their consumption with a common intervention, enabling policymakers to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ and to achieve extended health and economic gains.




Reis, A. M., Quintal, C., & Lourenço. (2018, January 1). Killing two birds with one stone? Association between tobacco and alcohol consumption. Public Health. Elsevier B.V.

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