U.S. Adults See Smoking Cannabis as Safer Than Tobacco

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

Similar pattern seen for exposure to secondhand cannabis smoke versus tobacco smoke

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 17, 2023 (HealthDay News) — U.S. adults increasingly perceive daily smoking of cannabis and secondhand exposure to cannabis smoke as safer than tobacco smoke, according to a study published online Aug. 11 in JAMA Network Open.

Julia Chambers, M.D., from the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues examined trends in public perceptions of safety of cannabis versus tobacco smoke. The analysis included web-based survey responses from 5,035 U.S. adults participating in the Ipsos KnowledgePanel (2017, 2020, and 2021).

The researchers found that more than one-third of participants felt that daily smoking of cannabis was safer than tobacco, with a significant increase in views favoring the safety of cannabis versus tobacco over time (36.7 percent in 2017 versus 44.3 percent in 2021). A similar pattern was seen for secondhand cannabis smoke (35.1 percent in 2017 versus 40.2 percent in 2021). A shift toward a safer view of cannabis was more likely among participants who were younger (adjusted odds ratio for ages 18 to 29 years versus 60 years and older, 1.4; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.1 to 1.8; P = 0.01) or not married (adjusted odds ratio, 1.2; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.0 to 1.4; P = 0.01); participants who were retired were less likely to move toward a safer view of cannabis (adjusted odds ratio versus working, 0.8; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.7 to 0.9; P = 0.01).

“Given that these views do not reflect the existing science on cannabis and tobacco smoke, the findings may have important implications for public health and policy as the legalization and use of cannabis increase,” the authors write.

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