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Studies: Teens use less tobacco with legalization

tobacco smoke cigarette

Two new demographic studies show that legal cannabis is associated with reduced use of tobacco products among adolescents. Young people apparently also understand the relative safety of cannabis apart from the dangers of tobacco.

The first study, analyzing the behaviors of adolescents in the United States from 1991 to 2015, found that the onset of tobacco use began at a later age in states that have legal medical marijuana. The late onset of smoking makes the habit easier to break in adulthood.

The second study shows that young people still understand the point about the dangers of tobacco smoke and nicotine-dependent risks, in a climate of cannabis acceptance.

Reduced rates of smoking in young people

According to data published in the journal, the enactment of medical laws for access to cannabis is associated with a reduction in cigarette smoke rates in young people. Cannabis.

A team of researchers affiliated with the University of California at Irvine and with Pennsylvania State University evaluated the relationship between medical cannabis legalization laws and the initiation of cigarettes among adolescents.

They concluded: “Our results indicate lower probabilities of starting cigarettes, in any age group (8 years or less, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16, 17 years or older) in states with MML [medical marijuana laws] when compared to non-MML states. … Further research should assess how MML and recreational marijuana policies are associated with the initiation and use of e-cigarettes. ”

Data published recently in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research reported that the passage of laws for adult marijuana use is not associated with any increase in tobacco use for youth.

The full text of the study, “State Medical Marijuana Laws and Cigarette Initiation among Adolescents in the United States, 1991-2015,” appears in Cannabis.

Adolescents distinguish between cannabis and tobacco

According to data published in the journal, changes in the state of the legal status of cannabis have not limited the effectiveness of anti-tobacco efforts aimed at young adults. Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

A team of researchers with Ohio State University and Purdue University in Indiana evaluated the impact of medical cannabis access laws and legalization laws for adult use on adults. cigarette smoking patterns in young adults.

They reported: “Liberalization of cannabis policy is not associated with patterns of cigarette use at the individual level.”

The authors conclude:[T]the liberalization of cannabis laws does not interrupt the gains made with the implementation of tobacco control policies. Furthermore, we see no evidence that liberalized cannabis policies are directly associated with increased smoking behavior in young adults. In a context of rapidly changing cannabis policies in the United States and many other countries, these results provide positive news that newly implemented cannabis laws may not negatively influence tobacco control efforts that have reduced smoking. cigarette use in young people ”.

The results are different from those of an unpublished working paper by a couple of students at the University of Texas, Dallas that argues that cigarette sales are slightly increased in some states of legalization for adult use.

The full text of the study, “Further consideration of the impact of tobacco control policies on young adult smokers in light of the liberalization of cannabis policies,” appears in Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

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