A new national study finds teens who smoke cigarettes are 14-times more likely to use marijuana than non-smokers — and anti-drug experts in Iowa say studies done here back up the U.S. numbers. Dale Woolery, spokesman for the Governor’s Alliance on Substance Abuse, says there’s a direct correlation between smoking cigarettes and smoking pot.He compares it to the relationship between swimming and scuba diving, saying “Most people don’t scuba dive if they haven’t first learned how to swim, and I think that could also be said of people who are smoking marijuana. A good number of them started smoking tobacco products first.” Woolery says the 2002 Iowa Youth Survey found 14-percent of middle and high school students surveyed said they currently smoked tobacco while seven-percent were smoking marijuana. Woolery says the survey also asked the teens and preteens if they’d -ever- smoked tobacco, to wish 22-percent said yes, versus 15-percent who said they’d tried pot. He says many scientists disagree over whether tobacco provides a “gateway” to marijuana and other drugs — but Woolery says he’s already convinced.The report from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse notes 84 percent of the kids who have tried pot smoked cigarettes within the past 30 days. Also, the study finds those teens who smoke are 18 times likelier to say most of their friends smoke pot. The center’s president calls pot a significant presence in the lives of teenage smokers. Joseph Califano warns if kids are smoking regularly, then parents should be concerned about marijuana use.
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