Marijuana Legalization Laws Don’t Undermine Tobacco Smoking Prevention Efforts

Columbus, OH: State-level changes to the legal status of cannabis have not limited the effectiveness of anti-tobacco smoking efforts targeting young adults, according to data published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

A team of investigators with Ohio State University and with Purdue University in Indiana assessed the impact of medical cannabis access laws and adult-use legalization laws on cigarette smoking patterns among young adults.

They reported, “Cannabis policy liberalization is not associated with individual-level patterns of cigarette use.”

Authors concluded: “[T]he liberalization of cannabis laws does not disrupt gains made through the implementation of tobacco control policies. Also, we see no evidence that liberalized cannabis policies are directly associated with increased smoking behaviors among young adults. Within a context of rapidly changing cannabis policies throughout the U.S. and several countries, these results provide positive news that newly implemented cannabis laws may not adversely affect tobacco control efforts that have reduced cigarette use among young people.”

The findings differ from those of an unpublished working paper by a pair of students at the University of Texas, Dallas which contends that cigarette sales have slightly increased in some adult-use legalization states.

Full text of the study, “Further consideration of the impact of tobacco control policies on young adult smoking in light of the liberalization of cannabis policies,” appears in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.