PIRE Publication - The effects of chronic nicotine and alcohol use on neurocognitive function


Despite the extensive literatures on the independent effects of chronic nicotine and alcohol use on neurocognition, little is known about their combined impact. The purpose of this paper was to examine the effects of chronic nicotine and alcohol use on neurocognition in participants who took part in Project MATCH, a study of the efficacies of three behavioral treatments for adults diagnosed with alcohol abuse or dependence. Multiple regression and ANCOVA analyses were conducted to determine the relationship between lifetime weeks of tobacco use and years of alcohol use problems and neuropsychological test performance. Results showed that although years of chronic alcohol use was significantly inversely related to neuropsychological test scores, and chronic nicotine use showed an additive effect, substance use accounted for little variance in neuropsychological functioning. These findings suggest that some protective factors may have helped to attenuate the impact of chronic substance use on neurocognition. The importance of considering individual differences in such research is highlighted. Additional studies on the combined effects of chronic nicotine and alcohol use on neuropsychological function are warranted.

Friend, K. B.
Malloy, P. F.
Sindelar, H. A.