Research: Marijuana Boosts Interest In Tobacco, Lowers Alcohol’s Market Share


With the legalization of recreational marijuana, researchers predict that the alcohol industry will suffer. The Marketing Science journal has published this paper in which experts looked at how legalization of recreational marijuana has impacted the tobacco and alcohol industries. According to the scientists involved, marijuana is not competition for tobacco but for alcohol it is.

Diving Into Internet Search Trends

Scientists from the Terry College of Business, University of Georgia conducted this study. They tested how internet browsing habits had evolved with the legalization of marijuana. The aim of the researchers was to find how web traffic going toward alcohol and tobacco searches had altered following recreational marijuana legalization.

For the purpose of the research, the team collaborated with a US-based web portal. This enabled them to access data of online searches as well as advertising click-through rates and revenues. The data encompassed the period of 2014-2017.

The compiled data was of 28 million searches and 120 million ad impressions related to alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco. The focus of the researchers was on how internet searches had changed in states where marijuana has been legalized during the term.

Findings Of The Research

Scientists involved in the study found that following marijuana legalization, the number of searches related to marijuana had gone up. On the other hand, searches related to alcohol had substantially reduced. Researchers said, “We can infer a reduction of 10.9% in alcohol searches after recreational cannabis legalization relative to the average of the pre-treatment period.”

Apart from searches, even the advertising CTRs and revenue data showed the same results. This led the researchers to conclude that marijuana was competition for alcohol. Surprisingly though, the search volume, ad click-through rates and ad revenue had bounced up in the case of tobacco. This means that marijuana had facilitated the growth of interest in tobacco.

What The Tobacco And Alcohol Industries Can Learn From This

Previously, both the industry, of alcohol and that of tobacco, have been against the legalization of marijuana. The reason behind this is obvious – there’s the worry that once the popular drug is allowed for use, the alcohol and tobacco markets would suffer.

However, this finding suggests that the tobacco industry should change its ways in this regard. It is likely that supporting the legalization of cannabis would be fruitful for the tobacco industry. The researchers of this study pointed this out as well.

Can You Mix Weed With Tobacco And Alcohol?

A UCL study from last year found that doing marijuana and tobacco at once can increase blood pressure and heart rate. Tobacco can also increase dependency on cannabis when taken with it even though cannabis is not addictive on its own.

As for taking weed and alcohol at once, that is also a bad idea. This is because cannabis with alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning. It can have more sedative effects and induce nausea and dizziness. It can also lead to an overdosage of both the drugs along with other disadvantages.


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