WASHINGTON, DC – Teen smokers who rationalize
their use of cigarettes by saying, “At least, I’m not doing drugs,” may not
always be able to use that line.
New research to be presented Sunday,
May 5, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington,
DC, supports the theory that cigarettes are a gateway drug to marijuana.
“Contrary to what we would expect,
we also found that students who smoked both tobacco and marijuana were more
likely to smoke more tobacco than
those who smoked only tobacco,” said study author Megan Moreno, MD, MSEd, MPH, FAAP,
an investigator at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and associate
professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington.
Dr. Moreno and her colleagues randomly
selected incoming college students from two universities — one in the Northwest
and one in the Midwest — to participate in the longitudinal study. Students were
interviewed prior to entering college and again at the end of their freshman
year regarding their attitudes, intentions and experiences with substances.
Specifically, students were asked if
they had used tobacco or marijuana ever in their lives and in the past 28 days.
Researchers also assessed the quantity and frequency of marijuana and tobacco
use in the past 28 days.
Results showed that prior to
entering college, 33 percent of the 315 participants reported lifetime tobacco
use, and 43 percent of lifetime users were current users. In addition, tobacco
users were more likely to have used marijuana than those who did not use tobacco.
By the end of their freshman year,
66 percent of participants who reported tobacco use prior to entering college remained
current users with an average of 34 tobacco episodes per month. Of these, 53
percent reported concurrent marijuana use. Overall, users of both substances
averaged significantly more tobacco episodes per month than current users of
tobacco only (42 vs. 24).
“These findings are significant
because in the past year we have seen legislation passed that legalizes
marijuana in two states,” Dr. Moreno said. “While the impact of these laws on
marijuana use is a critical issue, our findings suggest that we should also
consider whether increased marijuana use will impact tobacco use among older
work should involve designing educational campaigns highlighting the increased
risks of using these substances together, Dr. Moreno concluded.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Moreno before or during the
PAS meeting, contact
To view the abstract, “Trends
in Tobacco and Marijuana Use among College Freshman,” go to http://www.abstracts2view.com/pas/view.php?nu=PAS13L1_2195.5.
by National Institutes of Health,
the Common Fund, managed by the Office of Strategic Coordination, grant
The Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS)
are four individual pediatric organizations that co-sponsor the PAS Annual
Meeting – the American Pediatric Society, the Society for Pediatric Research,
the Academic Pediatric Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Members of these organizations are pediatricians and other health care
providers who are practicing in the research, academic and clinical arenas. The
four sponsoring organizations are leaders in the advancement of pediatric
research and child advocacy within pediatrics, and all share a common mission
of fostering the health and well-being of children worldwide. For more information, visit www.pas-meeting.org. Follow news of the PAS meeting on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PedAcadSoc.