At parties across America, young adult smokers are more likely to pair cigarettes with alcohol than with a “joint.”
“Our findings show that co-use of cigarettes and alcohol could be more pleasurable than co-use of cigarettes and marijuana,” co-first author Noah Gubner, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, San Francisco’s Institute for Health Policy Studies, said in a school news release.
The results could also point the way to better efforts to help young adults stop all unhealthy habits, the researchers added.
“Smoking cessation interventions should highlight these differences and address co-use to effectively help people cope with triggers to smoke,” added co-first author Johannes Thrul, a postdoctoral scholar at the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.
For the study, researchers surveyed more than 500 smokers in the United States. They were between 18 and 25 years old.
The study participants smoked more than 40 percent of their cigarettes while under the influence of alcohol or marijuana.
Both alcohol and marijuana users reported increased pleasure from smoking cigarettes when drinking alcohol. Binge drinking didn’t increase the pleasure of smoking. And in general, the pleasure of smoking cigarettes didn’t increase when using marijuana.
Past research has shown that the combination of cigarettes and alcohol leads to a greater feeling of reward for users, the researchers noted.
“Since the main route of administration for marijuana is smoking, some aspects of marijuana use (such as the smoke, lighting of a joint, the throat feeling when inhaling smoke) may serve as cues that increase urges to smoke cigarettes,” the authors wrote.
“In addition, certain individuals may enjoy aspects of smoking in general, regardless of substance,” they wrote.
Thrul said the new study suggests there are different reasons why people use cigarettes with alcohol or with marijuana.
The study was published online April 18 in the journal Addiction Research & Theory.
The American Cancer Society offers a guide to quitting smoking.