Youngsters who smoke cigarettes are more likely to use marijuana than those who don’t smoke, according to a study released Tuesday.
The report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University and the American Legacy Foundation said young cigarette smokers are 14 times more likely to try pot. Eighty-four percent of the kids who have tried marijuana have smoked cigarettes within the past 30 days.
The study focusing on 12- to 17-year-olds also found those who smoke cigarettes are six times likelier to be able to buy marijuana in an hour or less and 18 times likelier to say most of their friends smoke pot.
“Pot is a significant presence in the lives of teenage smokers,” said Joseph Califano Jr., president of the addiction center. “If kids are regularly smoking, you should be concerned they are smoking pot.”
Califano said anti-tobacco campaigns can help reduce pot smoking among young Americans and urged the Bush administration to educate people on the dangers of tobacco use.
Young people perceive a link between cigarette smoking and pot use: When asked whether they think that a kid who smokes cigarettes is more likely to use pot, 77 percent responded yes.
The study found:
- Among those who acknowledge having tried marijuana, those who do not smoke cigarettes are likelier to have tried pot only once.
- Teens who have tried pot and are current cigarette smokers are 60 percent likelier to be repeat marijuana users.
- Fifty-five percent of those who are current cigarette smokers report more than half their friends use marijuana.
- Among the kids who have tried pot, 57 percent first smoked cigarettes; 29 percent never smoked cigarettes; and 13 percent either tried pot and cigarettes at the same time or tried pot before cigarettes.
In the survey by QEV Analytics, 1,987 teenagers and 504 parents of teenagers were interviewed between April 30 and July 14 over the telephone. The margin of error for the 2003 survey is plus or minus 2 percentage points.