Study Focuses on Binge Drinking's Effects on Smokers

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By Zach Quiñones
Daily Toreador, Texas Tech

The Texas Tech Department of Psychology is researching the effects of binge drinking to identify reasons why college students relapse back into smoking and whether it impacts a person’s urge to smoke.

The originator of the study is Joe VanderVeen, a Ph.D. student in clinical psychology.

The motivation behind the study stemmed from VanderVeen’s master’s degree project, which focused on impulsivity influencing relapse.

Researchers are looking for participants to take part in the study.

Associate professor and Director of Clinical Training Lee Cohen considered the study appropriately timed and necessary.

The research involves an area that’s been understudied, he said, because most impulsivity studies focus primarily on alcohol and not necessarily with smoking.

Tully Brown, a senior history major from Rule, also considered the study valuable.

“People always say, ‘I only smoke when I drink,’” he said. “So it sounds like a good study.”

In order to qualify, participants must meet certain requirements: He or she must be a daily smoker who smokes more than 12 cigarettes every day, has had five or more drinks in less than two hours, three or more in the last month or has not done this in the last year. And he or she must be between the ages of 18 and 25.

Selected participants will be asked to come to an initial screening session and asked questions about personality, substance use history — including current use — and mood.

Following the questions, there will be two one-hour experimental sessions to measure emotional responses to photographic pictures.

Participants will receive up to $100 after completing the study.“The goal is to come up with a smoking prevention program to help smokers quit or not further their behavior,” VanderVeen said.

He said this is the time when college students between the ages of 18 and 24, who have the highest prevalence rates, either pick up smoking or become binge drinkers.

This story was filed by UWIRE, which offers reporting from more than 800 colleges and universities worldwide. Read more at