AUG 31, 2023 6:01 AM PDT

Cannabis Legislation Linked to Reduction in Adult Tobacco Use

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Charron

A study published in the Journal of Health Economics showed that recreational cannabis is associated with reduced use of adult tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and e-cigarettes. The researchers examined data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). 

The study highlighted three main findings on cannabis’ impact on tobacco use. PATH and NSDUH data indicated that adult-use cannabis laws increased prior-month cannabis use by 2-5%. Cannabis use included vaping. 

The study did not find evidence that adult-use cannabis laws increased adult tobacco use based on their analysis of longitudinal PATH and NSDUH data and data from the Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). The researchers noted that cannabis legalization is associated with a lagged reduction in all tobacco use, including cigarettes, pipe tobacco, cigars, electronic cigarettes, and nicotine vaporizers. States with adult-use laws witnessed an approximate 2% decrease in tobacco use 2-3 years after legalization. NSDUH-based estimates suggest that two or more years after the adoption of recreational cannabis law, legalization is associated with an approximately 0.5-2% decline in tobacco use.

The third main finding indicated that the increased number of dispensaries is associated with more significant reductions in tobacco use. The researchers believed that the accessibility and availability of dispensaries contribute to the increased use of cannabis as a substitute for tobacco aid in the substitution of tobacco with cannabis. Many other studies have suggested that consumers are increasingly replacing tobacco with cannabis products, but there are age patterns associated with cannabis consumption. More research on age differences and cannabis and tobacco use is needed to inform policy and develop public health awareness campaigns. 

This study provides valuable insights into the impact of cannabis legalization on public health and tobacco consumption. 

Sources: Drexel University, Journal of Health Economics 


About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Kerry Charron writes about medical cannabis research. She has experience working in a Florida cultivation center and has participated in advocacy efforts for medical cannabis.
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