Gambling, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking and health: Findings from the 2007 British Gambling Prevalence Survey

Abstract

Previous research has shown an association between gambling, alcohol and cigarette smoking. Co-occurrence of problem gambling with other behavioural and psychological disorders can exacerbate, or be exacerbated by, problem gambling. Using participant data from the 2007 British Gambling Prevalence Survey (n = 9003 adults aged 16 years and above), secondary analysis was carried out on the relationship between gambling and three particular areas of co-occurrence. These were general health status, cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption. All analysis was age standardised to allow comparisons between groups after adjusting for the effects of any difference in their age distributions. Results showed that: (i) cigarette smokers were significantly more likely to gamble in the past year compared to non-smokers, (ii) cigarette smokers were over three times more likely than non-smokers to be a problem gambler, (iii) alcohol consumption as measured by the number of units drunk on the person's heaviest drinking day was not significantly associated with having gambled in the past year, (iv) alcohol consumption as measured by the number of units drank on the person's heaviest drinking day in the past year was significantly associated with problem gambling, (v) health status was not significantly associated with past year gambling and (vi) the prevalence rate of problem gambling among those with poor health were over three times as likely to be a problem gambler compared to those with good health. Implications of these results are discussed.

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