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Many Young Smokers Also Use Pot

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A large percentage of young cigarette smokers also smoke marijuana, a new study finds.

The results, based primarily on surveys taken on the social networking site Facebook, show more than 50 percent of adult smokers ages 18 to 25 report using marijuana in the last 30 days. That's higher than researchers thought — previous studies have suggested about 35 percent of young adult smokers also smoke marijuana.

Online surveys have advantages over those based on face-to-face interviews and in that participants may be more open about their use of illegal substances.

"Cessation treatments for young adult smokers should consider broadening intervention targets to include marijuana, and conversely, those for marijuana should include tobacco," the researchers wrote in their study, to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Addiction Science and Clinical Practice.

Researcher Danielle Ramo, of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues recruited participants through advertisements on Facebook, Craigslist and in emails. The ads targeted smokers, with no reference to marijuana, and people who responded were included in the study only if they had smoked a cigarette in the past month.

About 1,800 people completed the full questionnaire. The majority of participants were male (64 percent), white (72 percent) and not students (71 percent).

Fifty-three percent said they had used marijuana in the last month. The highest marijuana use was among daily cigarette smokers, the researchers said.

Residents of states where marijuana is legal for medical uses were no more likely to have used marijuana in the past month than residents of states where medical marijuana is not legal.

The researchers noted the survey participants were not representative of the population as a whole, and that they reported their own smoking habits and marijuana use, which may not be entirely accurate. But because the survey was anonymous, participants might be more inclined to answer honestly, the researchers said.

Pass it on:The problem of marijuana use among young adult smokers may be larger than previously thought.

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