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As Pot Smoking Rises, users could also turn to cigarettes



WEDNESDAY, March 28, 2018 (HealthDay News) – A smoke is a smoke is a smoke: New research suggests that people who smoke pot are more susceptible to the intake – or return – of the cigarette habit.

A smoking cessation expert said the results are not surprising.

"Among the people I treat, the majority of those who smoke cannabis and cigarettes often have a harder time giving up, they do not want to give up their cannabis use and are more likely to return to cigarette smoking," said Patricia Folan. She heads Northwell Health's Tobacco Control Center in Great Neck, N.Y.

The new research was led by Renee Goodwin of Columbia University's School of Public Health in New York City. Her team tracked data from nearly 35,000 American adults who participated in a nationwide survey.

While the study failed to show any cause-and-effect, Goodwin's team found that marijuana is associated with an increased risk that non-smokers would start smoking cigarettes. Pot Smoking was also linked to a lower probability that smokers would quit and a greater chance that former smokers would return to habit.

While smoking is declining in the United States, easing the laws against marijuana means that it is used to rise.

Therefore, it is important to "get a better understanding of the relationship between marijuana use and cigarette use," Goodwin said in a university news release.

A previous study by Goodwin and colleagues found a dramatic increase in the use of marijuana by cigarette smokers over the last two decades. It has also been found that daily use of marijuana in cigarette smokers is more than five times higher than in non-smokers.

"As mentioned in the article, the relaxation of cannabis bans on cannabis use by many people may have made cannabis less harmful with less risk to health," concluded Folan.

Other experts agreed.

"This study shows that smoking flammable material is a generalized habit," Dr. Len Horovitz, lung specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "It seems like smoking is smoking."

Dr. Alan Mensch is a Pulmonologist and Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs at Plainview and Syosset Hospitals in New York. He said there was concern that "cannabis use could negatively impact the success we have had in reducing tobacco use and leading to an increase in tobacco-related illnesses and death."

A greater focus on marijuana is needed to "reduce smoking and help people quit smoking," Goodwin said.

The trend could be particularly important for young Americans, Goodwin added. She pointed to recent data suggesting that marijuana is used more often in adolescents than cigarettes. Therefore, it is important to learn more about how marijuana can affect the risk of smoking.

The study was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

More information

The US National Institute on Drug Abuse has learned more about marijuana

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1; Robert Preidt

SOURCES: Len Horovitz, MD, internist and pulmonary specialist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Patricia Folan, DNP, Director, Center for Tobacco Control, Northwell Health, Great Neck, N.Y .; Alan Mensch, M.D., Pulmonologist and Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs, Plainview and Syosset Hospitals, Long Island, N.Y .; Columbia University, Press Release, March 27, 2018

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