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Smoking hotline often reveals callers’ drinking issues

PHOENIX — A new Yale University study found that hotlines to help people quit smoking could also pull double duty to help problem drinkers.

The study looked at alcohol use among almost 90,000 callers to the New York State Smokers Quitline and found nearly one-quarter of callers reported hazardous drinking behavior as well.

Steven Michael heads up the Arizona Smokers Helpline and said there is a strong relationship between alcohol and tobacco. In fact, it’s a reason why people relapse into smoking.

“Somebody relapses and it’s usually when they’re at the bar with their friends. We’re more than happy to say you should look at your drinking and there’s help out there if you want to do that.”

Michael said about 25 percent of the smokers’ hotline callers are dealing with an alcohol/tobacco connection or other issues.

“We have people with alcohol problems, marijuana problems, people with medical conditions. It would be nice if we could deal with multiple conditions and at this point we always have to refer people.”

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