Tobacco Users Smoke More Cigarettes If They Also Use Pot

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online

Smokers who use both tobacco and marijuana tend to smoke more cigarettes per month than those who only use tobacco, according to new research presented Sunday as part of the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington, DC.

“Contrary to what we would expect, we also found that students who smoked both tobacco and marijuana were more likely to smoke more tobacco than those who smoked only tobacco,” study author Dr. Megan Moreno, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington who is also affiliated with Seattle Children’s Research Institute, said in a statement.

Moreno and her colleagues randomly selected incoming college students from two universities (one in the Northwest and one in the Midwest) to participate in a longitudinal study of tobacco and cannabis smoking habits. They were asked about their attitudes, intentions and experiences with both substances twice — once before entering college and a second time after completing their freshman year.

Each participant was asked if they had used tobacco or marijuana at any point in their lives, as well as if they had used either substance within the past four weeks. The researchers also gathered information about the quantity and frequency of such use over that 28-day period.

They found that, prior to entering college, one-third of the 315 subjects had reported using tobacco, and 43 percent of those were currently smoking cigarettes. Tobacco users were also found to have been more likely than non-smokers to have smoked pot. Following their freshman year, two-thirds of pre-college tobacco users continued doing so, and 53 percent of them had reported concurrent marijuana use.

The smokers reported an average of 34 tobacco episodes per month. However, those who used both substances reported smoking cigarettes an average of 42 times per month, versus just 24 tobacco related episodes for those who did not also use cannabis.

“These findings are significant because in the past year we have seen legislation passed that legalizes marijuana in two states. While the impact of these laws on marijuana use is a critical issue, our findings suggest that we should also consider whether increased marijuana use will impact tobacco use among older adolescents,” said Dr. Moreno.

Future research, she added, should focus on educating people about the risk of using both substances together. The research was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).