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Cigarette smoking on the rise amongst drug users

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), cigarette smoking accounts for 1 in 5 deaths every year in the United States. While smoking has decreased considerably in the past several decades, it is actually increasing in certain populations.

New research has found that cigarette use has actually increased among people with substance abuse problems.

Researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the City University of New York set out to see if the decline of smoking for the general population was also true for those who use drugs. The study was published in the journal Addiction.

Researchers examined data from 725,010 Americans twelve and older from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2002 to 2014.

Of those individuals, 56 percent of people with drug-related issues reported smoking cigarettes or having a cigarette in the past month, while only 18 percent of people without substance abuse problems reported smoking.

The 56 percent includes cannabis use, and when marijuana is excluded, the numbers increase to 64 percent.

Cannabis was the only substance that had any affect on the numbers for the study, as smoking rates increased among individuals who abused a range of substances from hallucinogens to cocaine to sedatives.

“We found that cigarette use was not only disproportionately common among those with a substance use disorder, but that the odds of smoking were five times greater than that of the general population,” said Renee Goodwin, the senior author of the study. “And individuals with a substance use disorder other than cannabis were 7.5 times more likely to be smokers.”

According to Goodwin, this means that all efforts and strategies to inhibit smoking including commercial campaigns and higher taxes on tobacco products had no impact on people with substance abuse disorders.

“New and innovative public health strategies are needed if we are to reach those with substance use disorders and bring down the smoking rates among this vulnerable group of individuals,” said Goodwin.

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer

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