Aims To estimate probabilities of alcohol high-risk drinking, alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence on grounds of smoking-behaviour related variables and single nicotine dependence criteria.
Design Cross-sectional population-based study.
Setting Adult population of a region in north Germany.
Participants Cigarette smokers (n = 2437) among a random sample of 4075 females and males aged 18–64, drawn in 1996.
Measurement Smoking, nicotine dependence according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders (DSM-IV) and the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND); increasing alcohol-related harm (ARH): high-risk drinking, DSM-IV alcohol abuse, remitted and current alcohol dependence diagnosed by the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).
Findings Having smoked 30 cigarettes or more per day, onset of smoking at the age of 17 or younger, nicotine dependence and single nicotine dependence criteria revealed odds ratios higher than 4.0 for alcohol dependence. For alcohol dependence, a logistic regression model showed an increased odds ratios for male gender, smoking for 25 years or more, no attempt to quit or cut down, continuation of smoking despite problems, craving for nicotine, withdrawal experience 1 day or longer, smoking first cigarette in the morning 5 minutes or less after waking. The probability of increasing ARH was more likely in males, smokers for 25 years or more, no attempt to quit or cut down, continuation of smoking despite problems and smoking first cigarette in the morning 5 minutes or less after waking.
Conclusions Gender and single nicotine dependence criteria show particularly high probabilities of alcohol dependence and increasing ARH. Interventions need to take these connections into account.