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People Who Use Medical Marijuana Are More Likely to Smoke Cigarettes

More education at the retail level could help.

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This story originally appeared on The Fresh Toast

A new study found that medical marijuana patients are more likely to consume nicotine.

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Published this month in the American Journal of Addictions, the research is some of the first to look into the connection between medical marijuana patients and cigarettes, something that is a concern for health practitioners.

RELATED: Tobacco Prices Are Rising, Weed's Are Dropping: What That Means For You

Smoking begets smokers

Researchers acknowledged that there has long been a relationship between recreational cannabis use and nicotine use. This makes a lot of sense since smoking one substance makes it more likely to some others. With this study, researchers wanted to get some clarification on the case of medical marijuana, especially since these users are meant to be using the drug for health concerns.

Researchers went to a medical marijuana dispensary and surveyed over 600 patients between the ages of 18 and 89, asking them how they consumed their cannabis, and about their cannabis and nicotine use. They found that about 40% of medical cannabis users were also nicotine users. For reference purposes, about 14% of adults in the U.S. are nicotine consumers.

"Between the higher rates of nicotine use in those using medical cannabis, the fact that cigarette smokers opt to smoke cannabis as well, and that those people also are seeking to quit using nicotine presents a strong argument that dispensaries provide tobacco control messaging at the point of sale to encourage cigarette smokers to quit," co-author Marc Steinberg told Rutgers Today. "The strategy also could increase the chances that a medical cannabis user would vape the product, which is a less harmful route than smoking."

RELATED: Does Tobacco Vaping Lead to More Cannabis Use in Young People?

What can be done?

Warnings and recommendations from dispensaries may be a way to educate the public on the perils of smoking any substance. While pesky, these suggestions may educate consumers and let them know that smoking is harmful and that there are other methods of consuming cannabis that provide the same benefits minus the lung damage.