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Legalizing Marijuana Does Not Increase Youth Tobacco Smoking (Study)

Marijuana Doesnt Increase Youth Smoking

In yet another win for marijuana advocates, peer-reviewed journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research has published results discrediting the prohibitionist argument that legalizing cannabis will lead to an increase in other forms of smoking – namely: tobacco cigarettes.

Join CannaMD, Florida’s leading network of medical marijuana doctors, as we take a closer look at the research!

Smoking Marijuana vs. Smoking Tobacco

While often lumped together, smoking marijuana and smoking tobacco are two very distinct activities with completely different sets of risks and health implications. As summarized by peer-reviewed journal, Respiratory Care:

Although much is known about tobacco smoke, less is known about marijuana smoke, and inferences cannot be made about one based on the other.

The study authors continue:

Both types of smoke contain particulate matter and carcinogens; however, it has been reported that marijuana components may minimize some carcinogenic effects.

CannaMD has previously published extensive findings regarding claims conflating marijuana smoking with tobacco smoking (see: Does Smoking Marijuana Cause Lung Cancer?). Among the highlights:

In 1997, a retrospective cohort study of 64,855 participants (aged 15-49) found that:

Marijuana use was not associated with tobacco-related cancers or with cancer of the following sites: colorectal, lung, melanoma, breast.

Likewise, as summarized by the National Cancer Institute, a systematic review assessing 19 studies that evaluated premalignant or malignant lung lesions in persons 18 years or older who inhaled marijuana concluded:

Observational studies failed to demonstrate statistically significant associations between cannabis inhalation and lung cancer after adjusting for tobacco use.

These findings are perhaps best summarized by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which wrote in its review of multiple meta-analyses:

There was moderate evidence of no statistical association between cannabis smoking and the incidence of lung cancer.

Not surprisingly, data published by peer-reviewed journal The Lancet has ranked tobacco as more dangerous than marijuana. For more details, see: Scientists Rank Most Dangerous Drugs.

Does legalizing marijuana increase cigarette smoking?

While the comparative dangers of tobacco smoking versus marijuana smoking are slowly making their way into the mainstream press, another question remains: Does legalizing marijuana – which, it’s assumed: increases marijuana smoking – lead to increased smoking patterns in general? In other words, does condoning the smoking of marijuana lead people (and specifically: youth) to smoke more tobacco cigarettes?

Fortunately, scientists with Nicotine & Tobacco Research say the answer is NO.

In a new study titled, Further Consideration of the Impact of Tobacco Control Policies on Young Adult Smoking in Light of the Liberalization of Cannabis Policies, researchers write:

Tobacco control policies, including significant effects of comprehensive smoking bans, total vending machine restrictions, single cigarette sale restrictions, and advertising restrictions, remain robust in reducing young adult smoking, net of cannabis policy liberalization, including the legal status of possession, penalties for sale, and medical cannabis.

Combining data on tobacco and cannabis policies at the state, county, and city levels with the nationally representative geo-coded National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 and Census data, scientists used multilevel regression and fixed effect analyses to examine the impact of cannabis policies on any past 30-day cigarette smoking, frequency of smoking, and past 30-day near-daily smoking among young adults while accounting for community and individual covariates.

As the authors summarize:

This paper provides evidence that the liberalization of cannabis laws has not adversely affected the efficacy of tobacco control efforts.

In other words (to quote the study’s conclusion):

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

Questions about medical marijuana and tobacco?

CannaMD is here to help! In addition to providing Florida patients with medical marijuana certifications, CannaMD is also a leading force in cannabis research and education. Give us a call today at (855) 420-9170 to learn how we can assist. You can also complete a quick online application to see if you qualify!

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Author Bio

One Comment

  1. Living in FL, we’re only offered ‘medical’ marijuana (MM), since Florida hasn’t yet seen the light of full legalization. The program is breathtaking in it’s greed and hypocrisy. The right-wing republicans who ‘own’ this state, along with their lackey participating physicians, are getting obscenely rich through the financial rape of those who could benefit from cannabis.

    Initially, one must cough up $200 to the ‘prescribing’ doctor (at least my family doctor), continuing the thievery by demanding $100 every 6 months. The state requires $75 to grant a MM card that must also be renewed each and every year. All of this, on top of the outrageous price of the drug itself, puts MM out of reach for people like me with limited economic means. Those career politicians who establish the parameters of MM must say to themselves “We really don’t want to allow these peasants to use this stuff, but because the populace voted otherwise, we’ll get rich on their backs instead.” Disgusting greed; obnoxious selfishness, with no regard for the welfare of others, is coupled with the craving for power thrown in for good measure.

    This economic ‘land grab’ is accompanied by hypocrisy of the highest (or in this case, lowest) form. The physicians and career politicians talk out of both sides of their mouths when decrying the evils of opioid narcotic pain medication while penalizing those who need to ease whatever medical conditions are present. One would think that if they really wanted to stem the tides of addiction and overdose they would be all too eager to make the MM alternative simple and cheap. But, not surprisingly, they do whatever they can to take advantage of their respective positions of power.

    Medical marijuana should be administered like any other prescription. I can get a narcotic drug prescription for 30 days at a little under $20. All told, the cost for MM will be more than 10 times that amount. If those who set the laws and programs in the state of Florida were really honest about providing a safer, healthier alternative to narcotics, they should be more than eager to make it both financially and programmatically easy for those wanting to remove narcotic analgesics from their various medical needs.

    All told, this entire picture only serves to strengthen the stereotypes that have been established regarding career politicians, and their unethical behavior at the expense of others to maintain their reservoirs of power and materialism. Thank you for the opportunity to vent my frustration – I know I’m not alone.

    Most sincerely,

    Michael DuPuis

    “Given the recent changes to Florida’s COVID-19 policies, we feel it reasonable to warn patients there is a chance health provisions may not be extended past this point.”

    Reply to cannamd

    So why not try?  The program is immoral and unethical to begin with.  It is an exercise in breathtaking greed and hypocrisy .  We need to get rid of the right-wing republicans who are raking in the dollars on the backs of those who can benefit from the drug and also invoke recreational (and a REAL medical marijuana program) use and obtain the tax benefits for Floridians instead of the political parasites.  If there is something that needs a schedule 1 classification, it needs to be alcohol.

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