Research shows that marijuana legalization does not increase young tobacco use

Marijuana Legalization Does Not Increase Youth Tobacco Use, Research Shows

Young adults have not increased their tobacco use as more states have legalized marijuana for either recreational or medicinal purposes, researchers showed.

Tobacco control efforts aimed at younger populations have remained robust even as the access to cannabis has grown, according to researchers at the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT). 

While the link between tobacco control policies and smoking is well established, little research had so far been carried out on how the liberalization of cannabis policy may affect such a relationship, the research emphasized. This was important to establish given the co-use of tobacco and cannabis, the researchers said.

“Cannabis policies do not directly affect young adult smoking patterns in an adverse way.”

the research concludes.

The researchers combined data on tobacco and cannabis polices at the state, county, and city levels and examined the impact of cannabis policies on any past 30-day cigarette smoking and the frequency of smoking among young adults, taking variations among communities and individuals into account.

The results showed tobacco control policies such as comprehensive smoking bans, total vending machine restrictions, single cigarette sale restrictions, and limits on advertising remain robust in reducing young adult smoking at the same time as cannabis policies such as  legalization of possession, penalties for sale, and medical cannabis are liberalized.

“Cannabis policies do not directly affect young adult smoking patterns in an adverse way,” the research concludes.

In related research, adult cigarette smokers who increase their frequency of cannabis use were found to have significantly poorer tobacco cessation outcomes compared to noncannabis-using smokers.

“If smokers who also use cannabis are more likely to continue smoking, it is important to monitor these trends and understand the impact, if any, on smoking cessation in jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis for nonmedical use,” the report concluded.

The research was carried out using data from adult smokers in Canada, England, the U.S., and Australia over a two-year period.

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