Examining Differences in Breath Alcohol Concentration (BrAC) Levels and Hazardous Drinking by Smoking Status Among a Sample of College Student Bar Patrons

  • Ryan J. Martin
  • Molly Robinson
  • Jennifer Cremeens-Matthews
  • Beth H. Chaney
  • Kristyn Wynn
  • Joseph G. L. Lee
Original Paper


While the association between current smoking and alcohol consumption is well known, the relationship between social smoking and alcohol consumption is less understood. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between smoking status and two alcohol consumption measures in a sample of college student bar patrons. The data used in this study was collected in fall 2015. Study participants (N = 415) were college student bar patrons who agreed to complete an interview that assessed smoking status (i.e., regular smoker, social smoker, non-smoker) and two alcohol consumption measures: (1) breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) levels (using a handheld breathalyzer device) and (2) hazardous drinking scores (using the AUDIT-C scale). We conducted one-way ANOVAs with Bonferroni correction to examine differences in BrAC levels and hazardous drinking scores by smoking status. Among sample participants, 25.3% were regular smokers, 14.7% were social smokers, and 60.0% were non-smokers. Smokers had significantly higher BrAC levels than social smokers and non-smokers. Regular smokers also had significantly higher hazardous drinking scores than social smokers and non-smokers. The BrAC levels and hazardous drinking scores of social smokers and non-smokers were not significantly different. The drinking habits of social smokers reflected those of non-smokers and being a regular smoker was associated with higher drinking levels than the rest of the sample. Because of the association found between alcohol consumption and regular smoking, combining efforts to reduce these behaviors in college students might be advantageous.


Smoking BrAC Alcohol field study College students Hazardous drinking 



This project was not funded.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryan J. Martin
    • 1
  • Molly Robinson
    • 1
  • Jennifer Cremeens-Matthews
    • 1
  • Beth H. Chaney
    • 1
  • Kristyn Wynn
    • 1
  • Joseph G. L. Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health Education and PromotionEast Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA

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