Introduction: Changing patterns of cannabis consumption related to the liberalization of cannabis policies may have a countervailing effect on tobacco use. We analyzed whether cannabis policies have tempered the effects of tobacco control policies as well as the extent to which they were associated with young adult cigarette smoking.
Aims and methods: Combining data on tobacco and cannabis policies at the state, county, and city levels with the nationally-representative geocoded National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 and Census data, we use multilevel regression and fixed effect analyses to examine the impact of cannabis policies on any past 30-day cigarette smoking, frequency of smoking, and past 30-day near-daily smoking among young adults while accounting for community and individual covariates.
Results: Tobacco control policies, including significant effects of comprehensive smoking bans, total vending machine restrictions, single cigarette sale restrictions, and advertising restrictions, remain robust in reducing young adult smoking, net of cannabis policy liberalization, including the legal status of possession, penalties for sale, and medical cannabis. Cannabis policies do not directly affect young adult smoking patterns in an adverse way.
Conclusions: This paper provides evidence that the liberalization of cannabis laws has not adversely affected the efficacy of tobacco control efforts.
Implications: While the effects of tobacco control policies on smoking are well-established, little research has considered how the liberalization of cannabis policies may affect these relationships, which is important given the co-use of these substances. This paper provides evidence that the liberalization of cannabis laws has not adversely affected tobacco control efforts.
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