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“Hey, I Got to Smoke Some Weed”: Favorable Perceptions of Marijuana Use Among Non-College-Educated Young Adult Cigarette Smokers

Marijuana legalization is slowing progressing across the United States. This brings more questions about perceptions and use surrounding it. This study investigated how non-college-educated young adult cigarette smokers perceive marijuana and its use. The study group included individuals having under a 4-year college education along with under a $90,000 totally annual household income. This information is important when educating the public, especially young adults, on the harm and risks surrounding marijuana use.

The researchers surveyed 75 young adult smokers that were 18-29 years of age. These individuals were all located in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The surveys were completed by the participants and data collected in 2017. The data was then analyzed by the researchers in 2018. The participants were asked questions related to marijuana and cigarette use along with their opinions surrounding these substances. Participants overall expressed positive views towards smoking marijuana.

Researchers found that many of the participants reported smoking cigarettes to add to the psychoactive effect, or the high, of smoking marijuana. Other participants, they found, smoke marijuana in place of smoking cigarettes. The main finding between the two substances was marijuana smoking is perceived as being healthier, less addictive, and being more “trendy” and “cool.” Finally, they found that several young adults were smoking marijuana to stop smoking cigarettes, but most of them were unsuccessful. The views behind smoking marijuana are important to consider when educating and conveying risks around both cigarettes and marijuana. This study may indicate the importance of expressing evidence-based messages towards the young adult population that adequately explains the harm and risks behind the use and co-use of these substances.

Take Away: Marijuana use is on the rise on the United States due to its progressing legalization. The study looked at non-college educated young adults and their perception surrounding marijuana and cigarette use. The researchers found most participants had favorable views towards smoking marijuana. This information is important when educating this population with evidence-based messages about the harms and risks of marijuana use. 

Chen-Sankey, J. C., Jewett, B. J., Orozco, L., Duarte, D. A., Dang, K., Seaman, E. L., & Choi, K. (2019). “Hey, I Got to Smoke Some Weed”: Favorable Perceptions of Marijuana Use Among Non-College-Educated Young Adult Cigarette Smokers. Substance Use & Misuse, 1–8. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2019.1654515

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