Patients in hospital who smoke and have a history of alcohol problems have poorer general and mental health. Doctors surveyed almost 400 patients to find if there was a link between health status and smoking habits. They classified them into four groups:current tobacco use only, history of alcohol problems only, both, or neither.
The patients with both current tobacco use and past alcohol problems had noticeably lower scores on both general and mental health. They also showed higher levels of psychological distress. Also, those who currently smoked were more likely to report an alcohol problem, and vice versa - backing other research showing the two addictions are often linked. These findings suggest that perhaps it would be worthwhile asking patients who smoke about their alcohol use, as these may be vulnerable to a deterioration in their condition.