By Lisa Rapaport

(Reuters Health) - A growing number of American parents are using marijuana when they still have children living at home, according to a new study that suggests cannabis may be complicating efforts to limit kids exposure to second-hand smoke.

Researchers examined data collected from 169,259 U.S. adults from 2002 to 2015. During that time, the proportion of parents with children at home who said they used cannabis at least once in the past month rose from 4.9 percent to 6.8 percent.

a silhouette of a person: FILE PHOTO - A man smokes marijuana during a rally for the legalization of marijuana in Toronto REUTERS/Mark Blinch FILE PHOTO - A man smokes marijuana during a rally for the legalization of marijuana in Toronto

Over that same period, the proportion of parents with kids at home who smoked cigarettes declined from 27.6 percent to 20.2 percent, the study also found.

"While cigarette smoking continues to decline among parents with children living at home, use of cannabis is increasing among parents and this may as a result lead to an increase in childrens exposure to secondhand cannabis smoke," said lead study author Renee Goodwin of the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy at the City University of New York.

The increase in cannabis use appeared to be "disproportionately common among cigarette smoking parents," Goodwin said by email. "Therefore we may be seeing an increase in exposure to multiple types of smoke/increased amount of smoke in a growing percentage of households with this increase in cannabis use."

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