Female smokers have the highest alcohol craving in a residential alcoholism treatment cohort

Mario J. Hitschfeld, Terry D. Schneekloth, Jon O. Ebbert, Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, Victor M. Karpyak, Osama A. Abulseoud, Christi A. Patten, Jennifer R. Geske, Mark A. Frye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Cigarette smoking among female and male alcoholics has not been extensively studied as a factor related to intensity of alcohol craving during residential treatment and corresponding sobriety length. Methods: This retrospective cohort study assessed self-reported sobriety outcomes in patients with alcohol dependence at 3-month intervals over 12 months after completion of a 30-day residential treatment program. Demographic and clinical variables were collected including smoking status, alcohol craving utilizing the Penn Alcohol Craving Scale (PACS), and alcohol relapse. Statistical analyses included Chi-square, ANOVA, Tukey's test, Kaplan-Meier plots and Cox proportional hazards models as appropriate. Results: Of the 761 alcohol-dependent study subjects, 355 (47%) were current smokers. Alcohol craving intensity was higher in smoking females compared to nonsmoking females (p= 0.0096), smoking males (p<. 0.0001), and nonsmoking males (p<. 0.0001). Smoking status-by-sex interaction was not associated with post-treatment relapse. After controlling for other variables, higher PACS scores at admission were associated with higher probability of relapse (p= 0.0003). Conclusions: In this study, female alcoholic smokers experienced the highest level of alcohol craving in an alcohol treatment setting. Interestingly, this did not translate into higher rates of post-treatment relapse. Further research is warranted to explore the neurobiological basis for sex differences in this highly prevalent comorbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-182
Number of pages4
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Alcohol abstinence
  • Alcoholism
  • Craving
  • Recurrence
  • Residential treatment
  • Tobacco use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Female smokers have the highest alcohol craving in a residential alcoholism treatment cohort'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this