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Smoking Pot With Tobacco Makes People Nicotine Dependent

Update Date: Dec 26, 2012 10:05 AM EST

A new study suggests that smoking cannabis along with tobacco increases nicotine dependence in smokers, making it more difficult for them to quit tobacco.

It is a common practice among cannabis smokers to smoke it with tobacco. However, that practice can make them more nicotine-dependent, the study from the Northern NSW Health District suggests.

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The study has shown that high number of tobacco smokers in the North Coast may be related to use of cannabis.

"The percentage of adults 16 years or over who are currently smokers in Northern NSW is 16.6%. It is 14.8% for NSW," Dr Avigdor Zask, program coordinator at the Health Promotion Unit was quoted as saying by Northernstar.com.

"In 2004, a number of possible causes for this higher rate were considered, with the most plausible cause being that people are becoming dependent on tobacco through a process called the reverse gateway."

Dr Zask further said that young cannabis users who smoke frequently are at a higher risk of starting tobacco use and subsequently getting dependant on nicotine.

Researchers say that if you need a smoke within half an hour of waking up in the morning, you are classified as nicotine dependent.

Yet another revelation of the study result was that "regular users of both cannabis and tobacco also reported a higher rate of failure to quit tobacco in the 12 months leading to being surveyed, compared to those who only smoked tobacco".

For the study, the researchers also interviewed participants wherein they were quizzed regarding their smoking habits. Researchers were apparently surprised to find people who smoked a mix of tobacco and cannabis (known as mull) did not consider themselves as tobacco smokers.

"The research revealed that mull and tobacco-only use are highly flexible, with substance substitution being frequently practiced.

"Both qualitative and quantitative findings indicate that cannabis used as a mull with tobacco is strongly associated with increased tobacco smoking, nicotine dependence and difficulty in quitting use of both substances," he said.

Mull is used by people in order to bring down the amount of cannabis they smoke. However, this led to people smoking more often and consuming tobacco making them more dependent on tobacco.

"Mull users saw cannabis as a good thing and tobacco as a negative thing, but used the mix mostly due to economical reasons."

The report suggests that mull smokers may benefit from nicotine replacement therapy.

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