The former, not so much.
“It’s still difficult,” said Carvalho, who gave up his habit in May and continues to wear a nicotine patch to help control his cravings. “Someone can be smoking weed right next to me, and I’m fine. … If somebody’s smoking a cigarette in front of me, I’ll have to get up and walk away.”
Now, a Duluth researcher is launching a study to seek to discover, in part, what effect marijuana use has on individuals trying to quit tobacco cigarette smoking.
The study will take place in Duluth and the Twin Cities, both prime places, said the researcher, Mustafa al’Absi of the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Duluth campus. He was involved in a national study a few years ago, al’Absi said, that included data on marijuana and tobacco use in 10 cities. In four of those cities, the practice of smoking both tobacco and marijuana was more prevalent: San Francisco, Baltimore, Minneapolis and Duluth.
“And that’s one reason why we thought this would be a good study for the community,” said al’Absi, a behavioral medicine specialist who directs the newly formed Duluth Global Health Research Institute. “Especially at this time when more and more marijuana is becoming available. More and more states are legalizing it. We want to be ahead in knowing how our smokers could still try to quit.”
This brings up a dicey subject. For his study, al’Absi needs people who smoke both tobacco and marijuana. But smoking marijuana recreationally still is illegal in Minnesota. Can participants identify themselves as marijuana users without recriminations?
“Well, everything they tell us is confidential,” al’Absi said. “We have a federal certificate of confidentiality, which gives us the right to withhold all information.”
Al’Absi and others have extensively studied smoking cessation, he said. But little data