Cigarette smoking on the rise among America's drug users

While cigarette smoking in the U.S. has been steadily declining for years, the rate of smoking among America's illicit drug users has increased significantly since 2002, according to a study published in the journal Addiction.

For the study, researchers analyzed data compiled in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2002 to 2014, which included responses from more than 725,000 people. The researchers found 56 percent of individuals who used drugs within the last month also reported using cigarettes. Among individuals who did not report drug use, 18 percent said they smoked cigarettes within the last month. Over the course of the survey, researchers identified a rise in smoking among drug users, excluding those with cannabis use disorders.

"We found that cigarette use was not only disproportionately common among those with a substance use disorder, but that the odds of smoking were five times greater than that of the general population," said Renee Goodwin, PhD, an adjunct associate professor in the department of epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and senior author of the study. "Given the extremely elevated rates of smoking among persons with substance use disorders, it seems that neither population-based tobacco control efforts nor clinical smoking cessation strategies have reached or been as effective among persons with substance use disorders."

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