Blunt and non-blunt cannabis use associated with cigarette, e-cigarette, and cigar initiation: Findings from the population assessment of tobacco and health (PATH) study


Background:

Smoking cannabis using a tobacco-derived cigar shell or wrap, called blunt smoking, exposes individuals to non-trivial amounts of nicotine. The extent smoking blunts impact the risk of initiating other tobacco products is not well understood. We investigated if past-year blunt smoking is related to the risk of initiating cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and cigars.


Methods:

We obtained data on a nationally representative, non-institutionalized, civilian cohort of US residents aged 12 years and older who had never used cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or any cigar at baseline and surveyed annually for three years from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study. We estimated the proportional hazard (odds) of initiating these tobacco products associated with past-year blunt smoking, non-blunt cannabis use, or neither using discrete-time survival analyses.


Results:

Smoking blunts increased the risk of starting cigarettes (OR = 4.5), e-cigarettes (OR = 3.7), and cigars (OR = 6.7) compared to using neither blunts nor cannabis. Non-blunt cannabis use also increased the risk of starting cigarettes (OR = 4.0) but moderately for e-cigarettes (OR = 2.8) and any cigar (OR = 2.2). Blunt use was strongly related to starting combustible tobacco (cigarettes or cigars; OR = 9.0) and any three tobacco products (OR = 10.9). Exploratory findings showed that cigarillos drove cigar results and effect modification by age, race/ethnicity, and sex.


Conclusions:

People who smoke blunts risk starting cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and cigars more than those who abstain from cannabis. Blunts may contribute to tobacco initiation above cannabis alone.


Keywords:

Blunts; Cannabis; Cigar; Cigarette; Cigarillo; E-cigarette.

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