World No Tobacco Day - 4 reasons to give mulling up the flick

Mulling up is when people mix cannabis with tobacco. But it's just not a smart thing to do - and here's why.

Mulling up

Last Sunday (31 May) was ‘World No Tobacco Day’. It’s fair to say that these days, very few people think smoking tobacco is a good idea. Even people in Australia who choose to smoke know there are many negative effects and pretty much zero positive ones. But it wasn’t always this way. It’s taken 50 years of public health initiatives, education and government legislation to bring about this attitude change and dramatically reduce the number of Australians who smoke tobacco. We know that attitude and behaviour change takes a long time, and at NCPIC we hope that we’ll play an important role in making similar changes in terms of smoking cannabis.

With this in mind, and in noting the clear effects of tobacco on respiratory health, here are four reasons why ‘mulling up’ or mixing cannabis with tobacco, is one habit you should avoid.

1. Tobacco can give you cancer (and lots of other health problems)

This is really an undisputed fact: smoking tobacco puts you more at risk of a whole host of deadly and grisly health problems, ranging from lung cancer to emphysema, respiratory infections and heart disease. Smoking tobacco is one of the deadliest behaviours out there: about half of all smokers will die from smoking related diseases. All up, smoking tobacco is simply not worth it.

2. Mixing cannabis and tobacco worsens the negative health effects

Smoking cannabis and tobacco together is worse for your health than smoking either of them by themselves. This is largely to do with the fact that when people smoke cannabis they usually inhale more smoke and hold it deeper in their lungs for longer than tobacco smoking alone. Cannabis smoke also contains more tar and carcinogens that tobacco smoke. This means if you mix tobacco with your cannabis then you’re likely inhaling and retaining a lot more tar, carbon monoxide and other toxic chemicals than tobacco smoking alone, which puts your lungs and cardiovascular system under greater risk.

3. You’ll likely end up addicted to tobacco

Tobacco is actually one of the most addictive drugs around. A whopping 1 in 3 people who smoke tobacco will become addicted. When you compare this with 1 in 6 people who use cocaine and 1 in 8 people who drink alcohol becoming addicted, it really does show just how addictive tobacco is. So, if you’re regularly mixing tobacco with your cannabis you’re putting yourself at a real risk of becoming addicted to tobacco. And once you’re addicted to tobacco it can be difficult to quit and you’ll likely have two addictions to manage.

4. It can make quitting cannabis harder

If you’re a regular cannabis smoker and you decide that you’d like to cut down or quit, a possible tobacco addiction could make it harder. As we mentioned above, if you’re mulling up, you’ve got very real chance of developing a tobacco addiction as well. This means if you quit cannabis, on top of your cannabis withdrawal, you could experience some really tough tobacco withdrawal symptoms as well.

If you’d like to learn more about mixing cannabis and tobacco, check out our cannabis and tobacco use factsheet or our Weed 101 on mixing weed with other drugs.

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