Put something in your hand that allows you to puff-puff and all of a sudden you're a drug user?

Maybe. New research presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting over the weekend says smoking cigarettes appears to be a gateway to marijuana use among college-age Americans:

For the study academics tracked 315 high schoolers as they entered two universities. One-third (33 percent) started out as daily tobacco smokers.

About 66 percent of the young people who had experience with tobacco by the time they started college ended up as daily cigarette smokers, the study said.

More than half of those daily smokers in college (53 percent) ended up as pot users, researchers concluded. According to a summary:

Overall, users of both substances averaged significantly more tobacco episodes per month than current users of tobacco only.

Credit: LA Weekly

Credit: LA Weekly

Smoking makes you toke which makes you smoke some more?

The study's author, University of Washington associate professor of pediatrics Megan Moreno, says her results should make us all reconsider legalization efforts:

These findings are significant because in the past year we have seen legislation passed that legalizes marijuana in two states. While the impact of these laws on marijuana use is a critical issue, our findings suggest that we should also consider whether increased marijuana use will impact tobacco use among older adolescents.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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