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The comorbidity of tobacco smoking and gambling: A review of the literature

Authors


Daniel S. McGrath MSc, PhD Candidate, Sean P. Barrett PhD, Assistant Professor. Mr Daniel S. McGrath, Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4J1, Canada. Tel: (902) 494-3417; Fax: (902) 494-6585; E-mail: daniel.mcgrath@dal.ca

Abstract

Issues. Evidence suggests that tobacco smoking and gambling frequently co-occur. Although high rates of comorbid smoking and gambling have been documented in studies with clinical populations of pathological gamblers in treatment, in studies using samples drawn from the community, and in large-epidemiological surveys, little empirical attention has been directed towards investigating the exact nature of this relationship. Approach. In this review, we stress the literature that has examined the epidemiology, aetiology and environmental factors implicated in comorbid smoking and gambling. Publications included in the review were identified through PsycInfo, PubMed and Medline searches. Key Findings. Although conclusive evidence is lacking, a growing body of literature suggests that smoking and gambling might share similar neurobiological, genetic and/or common environmental influences. Implications. Comorbid tobacco smoking and gambling are highly prevalent at the event and syndrome levels. However, research investigating how smoking might affect gambling or vice versa is currently lacking. Conclusion. More studies that examine the impact of this comorbidity on rates of tobacco dependence and problem gambling, as well as implications for treatment outcomes, are needed.[McGrath DS, Barrett SP. The comorbidity of tobacco smoking and gambling: A review of the literature. Drug Alcohol Rev 2009]

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