AIMS: The main objective of this article was to compare alcohol and tobacco consumption in the US and the Basque Country (the North of Spain) with particular attention to the association between alcohol and tobacco use. The consistency of findings was considered by analyzing data from two different years. These comparisons may provide a rational basis for exploring the associations between alcohol and cigarette use that are influenced by changes in use prevalences.

METHODS: Two epidemiological samples from the US, obtained in 1992 and 1996, and two from the Basque Country, obtained in the same years, were used. Sampling methodologies were similar. Questionnaires were self-administrated with the help of interviewers, and were used to define ever smokers, ex-smokers, current smokers, heavy smokers, ever drinkers, ex-drinkers, current drinkers and weekly drinkers. The associations between smoking and alcohol drinking were explored through logistic regressions.

RESULTS: The associations between current smoking and current drinking in the general population, and between ever smoking and weekly drinking among current drinkers appear very stable. In 1992 and 1996, US subjects who decided to try alcohol tended to try smoking and vice versa. In US Caucasians (particularly in 1996), heavy smoking was strongly associated with ever drinking among current smokers. In the Basque Country in 1992, there was a significant association between smoking cessation and drinking cessation among ever drinkers who also were ever smokers.

CONCLUSIONS: Our analyses suggest that some associations between alcohol drinking and smoking behaviours are likely to be detected in Western countries where alcohol and nicotine are legal and easily available. On the other hand, other associations may be detected only in certain social contexts. These social contexts make the associations in subpopulations who are vulnerable to addiction, influence the results in the general population. In social contexts that exert considerable social pressure to quit smoking, such as in US Caucasians (particularly in 1996), heavy smoking was strongly associated with ever drinking among current smokers. When a social environment strongly discourages smoking and alcohol initiation (as in the US in 1992 and 1996), subjects who decide to try alcohol tend to try smoking and vice versa. The lack of social stigmatization of smoking and drinking in the Basque Country in 1992 may help to explain the significant association between smoking cessation and drinking cessation among ever drinkers who also were ever smokers.

Background: This study predicts the implications of under-reporting of alcohol consumption in England for alcohol consumption above Government drinking thresholds.

Methods: Two nationally representative samples of private households in England were used: General LiFestyle survey (GLF) and Health Survey for England (HSE) 2008. Participants were 9608 adults with self-reported alcohol consumption on heaviest drinking day in the last week (HSE) and 12 490 adults with self-reported average weekly alcohol consumption (GLF). Alcohol consumption in both surveys was revised to account for under-reporting in three hypothetical scenarios. The prevalence of drinking more than UK Government guidelines of 21/14 (men/women) alcohol units a week, and 4/3 units per day, and the prevalence of binge drinking (>8/6 units) were investigated using logistic regression.

Results: Among drinkers, mean weekly alcohol intake increases to 20.8 units and mean alcohol intake on heaviest drinking day in the last week increases to 10.6 units. Over one-third of adults are drinking above weekly guidelines and over three-quarters drank above daily limits on their heaviest drinking day in the last week. The revision changes some of the significant predictors of drinking above thresholds. In the revised scenario, women have similar odds to men of binge drinking and higher odds of drinking more than daily limits, compared with lower odds in the original survey.

Conclusion: Revising alcohol consumption assuming equal under-reporting across the population does not have an equal effect on the proportion of adults drinking above weekly or daily thresholds. It is crucial that further research explores the population distribution of under-reporting.




Objective: The purpose of this article was to estimate the prevalence, distribution, and correlates of at-risk alcohol use (especially binge drinking) among middle-aged and elderly persons in the United States and to compare at-risk alcohol use between women and men.

Method: Secondary analysis of the 2005 and 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health was conducted for 10,953 respondents aged 50 years and older. Among respondents, 6,717 were 50 to 64 years of age and 4,236 were >/=65 years. Social and demographic variables, alcohol use (including at-risk use), binge drinking, serious psychological distress, and self-rated health were assessed.

Results: Overall, 66% of male respondents and 55% of female respondents reported alcohol use during the past year. At-risk alcohol use and binge drinking were more frequent among respondents 50 to 64 years of age relative to respondents aged 65 years or older. In the >/=65 years old age group, 13% of men and 8% of women reported at-risk alcohol use, and more than 14% of men and 3% of women reported binge drinking. Among male subjects, binge drinking compared with no alcohol use was associated with higher income and being separated, divorced, or widowed, while being employed and nonmedical use of prescription drugs were associated with binge drinking compared with no alcohol use among women. For all respondents, binge drinking relative to no alcohol use was associated with the use of tobacco and illicit drugs. Among women who reported using alcohol, being African American and less educated were associated with binge drinking, but race/ethnicity and educational level were not associated with binge drinking in men who reported using alcohol.

Conclusions: At-risk and binge drinking are frequently reported by middle-aged and elderly adults nationwide and are therefore of public health concern. Clinicians working with middle-aged and older adults should screen for binge drinking and coexisting use of other substances.




06 May 2014 In Diabetes

BACKGROUND: Renal transplant recipients (RTR) are often advised to refrain from alcohol because of possible interaction with their immunosuppressive medication. Although moderate alcohol consumption is associated with reduced risk of diabetes and mortality in the general population, this is unknown for RTR. Therefore, we investigated the association of alcohol consumption with new onset of diabetes after transplantation (NODAT), mortality, and graft failure in RTR.

METHOD: RTR were investigated between 2001 and 2003. Alcohol consumption was assessed by self-report. Mortality and graft failure was recorded until May 2009.

RESULTS: Six hundred RTR were studied (age 51 +/- 12 years, 55% men). Of these RTR, 48% were abstainers, 38% had light alcohol intake, 13% had moderate intake, and 1% were heavy consumers. Moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a lower risk of developing NODAT over the follow-up period than was abstention (OR = 0.36 [0.2-0.6], P = <0.001). During follow-up for 7.0 years [6.2-7.5 years], 133 recipients died. In Cox regression analyses, moderate alcohol consumption was associated with lower mortality period than was abstention (hazard ratio = 0.40 [0.2-0.8], P = 0.009). Adjustment for confounders, including age and smoking, did not materially change this association. No association was found between alcohol consumption and graft failure.

CONCLUSIONS: Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with low prevalence of NODAT and reduced risk for mortality in RTR, in line with findings in the general population. These findings refute the common advice to refrain from alcohol in RTR.

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