Parental cannabis use increasing, cigarette use decreasing

1. Current cannabis use among parents with children at home increased from 4.9% to 6.8% while current cigarette use declined from 27.6% to 20.2% from 2002-2015, as measured by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

2. Cannabis use was 4 times more common among cigarette smokers compared to non-smokers in parents with children at home.

Evidence Rating Level: 4 (Below Average)

Study Rundown: Secondhand smoke exposure from tobacco has been associated with adverse health outcomes in children, including increased rates of asthma. Children are most commonly exposed to secondhand smoke through parental smoking in the home. Beyond tobacco, secondhand smoke from cannabis may also be harmful for children, though data on the prevalence of marijuana use among parents is limited. In this study, authors used data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health to examine trends in cigarette use and marijuana use among parents with children at home from 2002 until 2015. Researchers found that during the study period cigarette use decreased, while cannabis use at home has increased. Cigarette smokers were about 4 times more likely than non-smokers to use cannabis at home. Overall, the data suggest that while exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke is declining, exposure to cannabis smoke is increasing and dual exposure may be an important public health consideration. The study was strengthened by its large, nationally representative sample, but limited by the inability to assess direct exposure of secondhand smoke to children, and use of a self-report survey. Despite these limitations, this study provides large-scale data on the trends of tobacco and cannabis use in homes with children.

Click to read the study in Pediatrics

Relevant Reading: Health effects of exposure to second- and third-hand marijuana smoke: a systematic review

In-Depth [cross-sectional study]: Data were taken from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, restricting analysis to adults with children <18 living in the home (N = 169 259). Analyses were performed categorizing people into “current” (past 30 days) or “daily” users of tobacco or cannabis, and initial analysis showed an increase in cannabis use (4.9 to 6.8%) and decrease in tobacco use (27.6 to 20.2%), as well as higher cannabis use among all tobacco smokers, OR 3.88. The greatest increases in cannabis use were seen among men and younger participants (18-25 year olds), but increases were relatively constant across income levels. The overall percentage of households using either cannabis or tobacco dropped from 29.7% to 23.5% over the study period.

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