Spousal Heavy Drinking and Smoking Reduce Smoking Cessation

    This 7-year longitudinal investigation focused on the influence of spousal heavy drinking and smoking on smoking cessation among their partners. Participants included 634 heterosexual couples (mean age 29 years for men and 27 for women) who were literate and had not been in a previous marriage. Couples were surveyed by mail on their first, second, fourth, and seventh wedding anniversaries regarding past-year smoking, frequency of past-year alcohol problems, and frequency of heavy drinking.

    • Husbands and wives were both more likely to quit smoking if their spouses were nonsmokers; however, heavy drinking on the part of spouses was not related to smoking cessation.
    • Husbands and wives who smoked fewer cigarettes and who reported less frequent heavy drinking were more likely to quit smoking.

    Comments by Tom Delaney, MSW, MPA
    This study sheds important light on the link between smoking and alcohol use among spousal partners. Practitioners and policymakers should link alcoholism and smoking cessation treatments to improve health outcomes. These results underscore that healthy spousal behaviors play a large role in successful treatment.

    By Partnership Staff
    March 2009


    March 2009