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October 2021

Correlates of occasional cigarette and marijuana use: Are teens harm reducing?

Author(s): Smith, M., Harrison, L., Drucker, E.

Journal/Book: Addict Behav. 1999; 24: the Boulevard Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford Ox5 1GB, England. Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd. 251-266.

Abstract: This paper examines characteristics that distinguish heavy and occasional cigarette and marijuana use among U.S, high school seniors. High school seniors who completed the 1994 Monitoring the Future survey (N = 15,929) were classified as nonusers, occasional users, and heavy users of cigarettes and marijuana. Level of use was examined with regard to degree of perceived risk of regular use, perceived risk of occasional use as well as several psychosocial factors previously shown to be associated with use (e.g., peer use, close friends' approval of use, and self-esteem). Involvement with other drugs and high-risk behaviors across levels of use was also examined. Heavy users of cigarettes or marijuana reported significantly lower perceived risk of regular use of each substance compared to occasional users. Heavy and occasional users did not generally differ with regard to perceived risk of occasional use. Compared to heavy users, occasional cigarette or marijuana users reported significantly lower rates of illicit drug use, heavy alcohol use, and high-risk driving behaviors as well as fewer problem behaviors and higher grades. Some adolescents may moderate their cigarette and marijuana use to minimize harmful effects they associate with heavier use (i.e., they may be practicing harm reduction). Additional research is needed to better understand controlled substance use, and incorporate this information into prevention and cessation programs.

Note: Article Resnicow K, Emory Univ, Rollins Sch Publ Hlth, 1518 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta,GA 30322 USA


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