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Half of Young Cigarette Smokers Also Smoke Pot: Survey
Date:4/19/2012

WEDNESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- More young cigarette smokers may also be lighting up joints than was previously thought, a new study finds.

In a survey of young adults aged 18 to 25, more than half said they also use marijuana. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), say that's a big increase from the 35 percent of young adults that, in prior research, had admitted to using both marijuana and tobacco within the past month.

One expert said the new findings ring true.

"The data presented are far more consistent with what I hear simply by speaking with thousands of students of middle and high school age," noted Stephen Dewey, an addiction researcher and director of the Laboratory for Behavioral and Molecular Neuroimaging at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, N.Y. "The importance of getting accurate data like these cannot be stressed enough, as treatment programs and the financial support required for them are often guided by studies that demonstrate both prevalence and risk."

According to the researchers, the fact that their study was conducted online, primarily through Facebook, and participants could remain anonymous, may have resulted in a more accurate picture of tobacco and marijuana use.

"We were curious whether rates would be different in our study where we reached out through social media and the Web," study author Danielle Ramo, a postdoctoral scholar in the UCSF Department of Psychiatry, said in a university news release. "And rates were much higher, which shows the problem might be larger than we realize."

The study, published April 18 in Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, was conducted in two phases. First, researchers questioned participants on their smoking habit. In the second stage, 3,500 participants were asked to anonymously reveal if they had used marijuana in the past 30 days.

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