Faculty Member

Tobacco and alcohol use are linked behaviors that individually and synergistically increase the risk for negative health consequences. This study was a two-group, randomized clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of a behavioral intervention, “Motivation And Problem Solving Plus” (MAPS +), designed to concurrently address smoking cessation and the reduction of at-risk drinking. Targeted interventions may promote coaction, the likelihood that changing one behavior (smoking) increases the probability of changing another behavior (alcohol use). Puerto Ricans (N = 202) who were smokers and at-risk drinkers were randomized to standard MAPS treatment focused exclusively on smoking cessation (S-MAPS), or MAPS +, focused on cessation and at-risk drinking reduction. Drinking outcomes included: number of at-risk drinking behaviors, heavy drinking, binge drinking, and drinking and driving. MAPS + did not have a significant main effect on reducing at-risk drinking relative to S-MAPS. Among individuals who quit smoking, MAPS + reduced the number of drinking behaviors, the likelihood of meeting criteria for heavy drinking relative to S-MAPS, and appeared promising for reducing binge drinking. MAPS + did not improve drinking outcomes among individuals who were unsuccessful at quitting smoking. MAPS + showed promise in reducing at-risk drinking among Puerto Rican smokers who successfully quit smoking, consistent with treatment enhanced coaction. Integrating an alcohol intervention into cessation treatment did not reduce engagement in treatment, or hinder cessation outcomes, and positively impacted at-risk drinking among individuals who quit smoking. Findings of coaction between smoking and drinking speak to the promise of multiple health behavior change interventions for substance use treatment and chronic disease prevention.