Change over time in adolescent smoking, cannabis use and their association: findings from the school health research network in Wales
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Background: While tobacco smoking has declined among UK youth in recent decades, cannabis use has begun to show some growth. Given their interrelationship, growth in cannabis use may act as a barrier to continued reduction in youth smoking. This paper assesses recent tobacco and cannabis use trends in Wales, and their association, to explore whether change in cannabis use might have impacted youth tobacco smoking prevalence. Methods: Repeat cross-sectional data on tobacco and cannabis use were obtained from biennial Welsh Student Health and Wellbeing surveys between 2013 and 2019. Data were pooled and analysed using logistic regression with adjustment for school-level clustering. Results: No change in regular youth tobacco smoking was observed between 2013 and 2019. In contrast, current cannabis use increased during this time, and cannabis users had significantly greater odds of regular tobacco smoking. After adjusting for change in cannabis use, a significant decline in youth tobacco smoking was observed (OR 0.95; 95% CIs: 0.92, 0.97). Conclusion: Recent growth in cannabis use among young people in Wales may have offset prospective declines in regular tobacco smoking. Further reductions in youth smoking may require more integrated policy approaches to address the co-use of tobacco and cannabis among adolescents.
Page, N., Hallingberg, B., Brown, R., Lowthian, E., Hewitt, G., Murphy, S. and Moore, G. (2020) 'Change over time in adolescent smoking, cannabis use and their association: findings from the school health research network in Wales', Public Health.
Article accepted for publication in Public Health.
Cardiff Metropolitan University (Grant ID: Cardiff Metropolian (Internal))
The Centre for Development, Evaluation, Complexity and Implementation in Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer) is funded by Welsh Government through Health and Care Research Wales. This work was supported also by the Public Health Division, Welsh Government with the support of The Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer), a UKCRC Public Health Research Centre of Excellence. Joint funding (MR/KO232331/1) from the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, the Welsh Government and the Wellcome Trust, under the auspices of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, is gratefully acknowledged. The School Health Research Network is a partnership between DECIPHer at Cardiff University, Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and Cancer Research UK, funded by Health and Care Research Wales.
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