According to a new survey, teens now prefer marijuana to cigarettes. The National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institutes of Health monitor drug abuse among high school students each year, and one of their most recent studies indicates that cigarette and e-cigarette use has been steadily declining since they first began surveying teens.
Cigarette use was at an all-time high in 1991, when 11 percent of high school seniors said they smoked at least half a pack of cigarettes per day. The new data indicates that in 2015, only 1.8 percent of high school students said that they smoked half a pack of cigarettes or more per day. Interestingly, only 5.5 percent of high school seniors said they smoked tobacco every day, but 6.0 percent of high school seniors said they smoked marijuana every day in 2015. “Nicotine used in the form of cigarettes is currently at historic lows,” wrote researchers.
Students preferred e-cigarettes to traditional cigarettes in 2014. Now, e-cigarette use has dropped among teens for the first time since the survey began. In 2014, 29.9 percent of students said they had tried an e-cigarette at least once, but in 2015, only 26.6 percent of students said the same, dropping over three percent. Hookahs are also falling out of favor since the first time hookah use was surveyed in 2010.
“The fact that we see this decline [of tobaccos use] in all three grades – eighth, 10th and 12th – signals to us that it’s pretty robust and that it isn’t just a blip,” senior investigator Richard Miech told The Los Angeles Times. “If it does decline, it would probably be because it’s considered uncool and it’s gone out of fashion.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death. Despite the obvious risks, the CDC also acknowledges that teen cigarette use is on the decline.