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Study explores relationship between tobacco, marijuana and alcohol use

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Young adults have the highest rates of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use relative to any other age group. This study examined the association between current alcohol and marijuana use and use of cigarettes and emerging tobacco products in a nationally representative sample of young adults.

Data were taken from the subgroup of 18 to 24 year olds (n=1,609; unweighted) participating in Wave 4 (January 2013) of the Truth Initiative Young Adult Cohort. Never, ever, and past 30-day use of little cigars/cigarillos (LCCs), hookah, e-cigarettes, and cigarettes were assessed separately in current (every day or some days) alcohol and marijuana users.

Results showed that current alcohol and marijuana use were associated with lifetime and past 30-day use of cigarettes, LCCs, e-cigarettes, and hookah. Young adults who had used alcohol and who were high on sensation-seeking had increased odds of LCC and e-cigarette use, suggesting that dispositional factors (sensation-seeking) is a driving force behind tobacco use behavior, irrespective of alcohol consumption. Marijuana and alcohol use may enhance risk for emerging tobacco products use in young adulthood. Prevention and intervention programs may need to target poly-use of alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco rather than focusing on a single risk behavior during these critical years.

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