A comparison of gambling behavior, problem gambling indices, and reasons for gambling among smokers and nonsmokers who gamble: Evidence from a provincial gambling prevalence study


Introduction: Numerous epidemiological and clinical studies have found that tobacco use and gambling frequently cooccur. Despite high rates of smoking among regular gamblers, the extent to which tobacco potentially influences gambling behavior and vice versa is poorly understood. The current study aimed to provide more insight into this relationship by directly comparing nonsmoking and smoking gamblers on gambling behavior, problem gambling indices, and reasons for gambling. Methods: The data for this study came from the 2005 Newfoundland and Labrador Gambling Prevalence Study. Gamblers identified as nonsmokers (N = 997) were compared with gamblers who smoke (N = 622) on numerous gambling-related variables. Chi-square analyses were used to compare groups on demographic variables. Associations between smoking status and gambling criteria were assessed with a series of binary logistic regressions. Results: The regression analyses revealed several significant associations between smoking status and past 12-month gambling. Higher problem gambling severity scores, use of alcohol/drugs while gambling, amount of money spent gambling, use of video lottery terminals, and reasons for gambling which focused on positive reinforcement/reward and negative reinforcement/relief were all associated with smoking. Conclusions: The findings suggest an association between smoking and potentially problematic gambling in a population-based sample. More research focused on the potential reinforcing properties of tobacco on the development and treatment of problematic gambling is needed.

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