The subjective effects of alcohol-tobacco co-use: An ecological momentary assessment investigation

Thomas M. Piasecki, Seungmin Jahng, Phillip K. Wood, Brandon M. Robertson, Amee J. Epler, Nikole J. Cronk, John W. Rohrbaugh, Andrew C. Heath, Saul Shiffman, Kenneth J. Sher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


Alcohol and tobacco use covary at multiple levels of analysis, and co-use of the 2 substances may have profound health consequences. To characterize the motivationally relevant processes contributing to co-use, the current study used ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to examine the subjective consequences of naturally occurring simultaneous use of alcohol and tobacco. Current smokers who reported frequently drinking alcohol (N = 259) used electronic diaries to monitor their daily experiences for 21 days. Participants responded to prompted assessments and also initiated recordings when they smoked a cigarette or completed the first drink in a drinking episode. Momentary reports of smoking and alcohol consumption were associated with one another, and these effects remained after adjustment for occasion- and person-level covariates. When participants consumed alcohol, they reported increased pleasure and decreased punishment from the last cigarette. Smoking was associated with small increases in pleasure from the last drink. Ratings of buzzed and dizzy were synergistically affected by co-use of alcohol and tobacco. Co-use was also followed by higher levels of craving for both alcohol and tobacco. Results point to the importance of reward and incentive processes in ongoing drug use and suggest that alcohol intensifies real-time reports of the motivational consequences of smoking more strongly than smoking affects corresponding appraisals of alcohol effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-571
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Alcohol
  • Cigarettes
  • Craving
  • Electronic diary
  • Reinforcement


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