AUSTIN, Texas (CBS Houston) – A new study indicates that rising taxes on cigarettes are decreasing the frequency and amount of indulgence in another vice – alcohol – for what researchers called “vulnerable groups.”

Science Recorder is reporting that the team, led by study co-author and Yale University School of Medicine associate professor Sherry McKee, identified reductions in alcohol consumption of varying levels in groups such as hazardous drinkers, young adult smokers, and smokers earning low incomes.

“Smoking and heavy drinking co-occur at alarmingly high rates. Tobacco can enhance the subjective effects of alcohol and has been shown to increase the risk for heavy and problematic drinking,” she told the website. “Smokers drink more frequently and more heavily than non-smokers, and are substantially more likely than non-smokers to meet criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence.”

McKee added, “The co-occurrence of smoking and drinking is of particular clinical significance given evidence that health consequences exponentially increase with combined versus singular abuse of alcohol and tobacco.”

For the study, researchers examined the correlation between cigarette taxation and alcohol consumption, and found that mild to moderate reductions occurred, seemingly due to rising costs.

“Our sample included 21,473 alcohol consumers from the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions,” researchers wrote in the abstract summary of their study. “Multiple linear regression analyses were conducted to evaluate whether increases in cigarette taxes between Waves 1 (2001 to 2002) and 2 (2004 to 2005) were associated with reductions in quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption, adjusting for demographics, baseline alcohol consumption, and alcohol price.”

Gender, age, income group and what they referred to as “hazardous drinking status” were also factored into their analysis of data.

The study will be published next January in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, which is a joint offering from the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism in Denver and the Research Society on Alcoholism in Austin.

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