Smoking is associated with increased risk of binge drinking in a young adult hispanic population at the US-Mexico border

Robert Woolard, Jiayang Liu, Michael Parsa, Garrett Merriman, Patrick Tarwater, Israel Alba, Susana Villalobos, Rebecca Ramos, Judith Bernstein, Edward Bernstein, Jason Bond, Cheryl J. Cherpitel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: This study examines factors related to general health and health behavior, including smoking, that may be associated with binge drinking, drinking "at risk," and potential for alcohol use disorder among young adults of Mexican ancestry. Methods: A total of 2191 young adult emergency department (ED) patients (18-30 years) of Mexican ancestry in a public hospital proximate to the US-Mexico border completed health surveys while they were waiting to be treated, including questions on general health, drinking, smoking, and drug use. Results: Thirty-seven percent of the study participants reported binge drinking, 38% were "at-risk" alcohol users (above National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism guidelines), and 22% were Rapid Alcohol Problem Screen (RAPS) positive (indicating potential for alcohol use disorder). Smoking was reported by 31%, marijuana use by 16%, and other drug use by 9%. Multiple variable models revealed that smoking was the strongest factor associated with binge drinking. Those who smoked were 3.1 (P <.0001) times more likely to binge drink. Other factors independently associated with binge drinking were age 22-25 years (odds ratio [OR] = 1.5, P =.003), male gender (OR = 1.5, P =.0001), and ED visit for injury (OR = 1.4, P =.007). Conclusions: There is a strong association of smoking and binge drinking. Study findings suggest that brief interventions designed to reduce preventable health risks for young Hispanics should include discussion of both binge drinking and smoking behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-324
Number of pages7
JournalSubstance Abuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol
  • brief intervention
  • community health worker
  • counseling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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