Cannabis and tobacco co-consumptions: can cannabis consumers quit cigarette smoking?

TitleCannabis and tobacco co-consumptions: can cannabis consumers quit cigarette smoking?
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsAkré, C, Michaud, P-A, Berchtold, A, Joan, CSuris
Conference NameSociety for Adolescent Medicine Annual Meeting, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA, 26-29 March 2008
ISBN Number1054-139X
Accession Numberserval:BIB_E70FC70AF9FE
KeywordsAdolescent, Marijuana Smoking, Marijuana Smoking/psychology, Smoking, Smoking Cessation, Smoking Cessation/psychology, Smoking/psychology, Switzerland

Purpose: To assess the relation between cannabis and tobacco consumption among adolescents in Switzerland and whether cannabis and tobacco co-users can quit cigarette smoking.
Methods: Based on individual interviews and focus groups, 22 youths aged 15-20 discussed cannabis consumption behaviours. Twenty (14 males) were cannabis consumers - of which 18 also smoked tobacco and 2 quit tobacco smoking - and 2 were former cannabis consumers (both females and daily smokers). Data were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using Atlas.ti qualitative analysis software.
Results: Among the co-consumers, 9 started with tobacco, 7 with cannabis, and 2 with both. The main consumption mode among all cannabis consumers is joints, while other ways of consuming such as food preparations and water pipes are rare and experimental. Joints always mix cannabis with tobacco for 3 reasons: to burn correctly, pure cannabis is too strong, and smoking cannabis alone is too expensive. Two cannabis consumers - one former tobacco smoker and one occasional tobacco smoker - consider rolling tobacco less addictive than cigarette tobacco alone, and hence use it in their joints. Overall cannabis is considered 'natural' and less harmful to health than tobacco. Thus, many users describe their wish, in the longer term, to quit tobacco consumption without excluding occasional cannabis consumption. Nonetheless, all coconsumers declare that they smoke cigarettes as a substitute for cannabis: For example, "If I don't have a joint, I need fags; if I don't have fags, I need joints; and if I don't have anything, I go crazy!" or "About 20 minutes after smoking a joint we feel like smoking something again, because in the joint there is pure tobacco without a filter as in cigarettes, and that creates a crazy dependency!". Finally, all co-consumers state that the consumption of one of the substances increases when trying to diminish the other: "A few months ago I stopped smoking joints for a month. Well I was smoking more than a pack [of cigarettes] a day." Similarly, the 2 former cannabis consumers increased their cigarette use since quitting cannabis.
Conclusions: The majority of cannabis users co-consume tobacco as a way of compensating for one substance or the other. Using tobacco within joints implies that there is a risk that even occasional joints can revive nicotine addiction. Consequently, health professionals wishing to help adolescents in substance use cessation and prevention efforts should consider both substances in a global perspective.
Sources of Support: Dept. of Public Health of the canton of Vaud.




Citation Key / SERVAL ID4079


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