Marijuana > cigarettes

Among high school seniors, at least.  Interesting look at the popularity of marijuana versus cigarettes in high school.  Among 12th graders, smoking marijuana is now (just) more common than smoking cigarettes.  Wow!  Mostly because of a rather precipitous decline in smoking.  That is definitely really good news.  Here’s the chart:

In fact, kids are doing less of about every drug but marijuana.  That’s really good.  More marijuana, though, is not good.  Now, you know I think the war on drugs is absolutely horrible, especially as it relates to marijuana.  And I don’t think the using or possessing marijuana should be legal, but that doesn’t mean more kids smoking marijuana is a good thing.  Though, if they are using marijuana instead of other drugs (especially alcohol), that actually is a good thing.  We just don’t have enough data to know yet.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

3 Responses to Marijuana > cigarettes

  1. ohwilleke says:

    Marijuana is significantly less harmful than either tobacco or alcohol. Legalization here in Colorado has not increased crime and has significantly reduced DUI traffic deaths without a corresponding increase in deaths from marijuana impaired driving. Smoking marijuana is much less harmful to your lungs than smoking tobacco (and for that matter poses less cancer risk than crewing tobacco) and in some forms has medical benefits (different strains different in recreational v. medical emphasis by altering the blend of three major active ingredients in pots). Deaths from overconsumption of alcohol in a single session are orders of magnitude more common than deaths from overconsumption of marijuana. Alcoholism does more harm to family life and work life than excessive marijuana use.

  2. Jon K says:

    You don’t think marijuana should be legal for adults? I am actually surprised. All of my doctors (neurologist, psychologist, and psychiatrist) have no concerns if I use marijuana. In fact they consider it to be therapeutic for anxiety (general and social).

    I was just lamenting with them that a person I know has to stop using it because that person may work for the federal government and be subject to testing. None of my doctors thought that was necessary for my friend’s health. However, we all did agree that it would be a lot easier for my friend to give that up than something more physically addicting – like nicotine. So far my friend has been doing pretty good at giving it up. He told me he wasn’t willing to risk a career over something like that. I told him he was pretty smart for thinking that way…

    • Steve Greene says:

      I’m sympathetic to Kleiman’s argument that we don’t want the genius of capitalism behind marijuana like it is with tobacco and alcohol. Last I checked, he was advocating for grow your own. I think you should be able to buy it, but that it should probably be heavily regulated. Less harmful than alcohol does not mean not harmful. Or heck, maybe just a prescription that is easy to get. But I would say not just another consumer product.

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