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Young Americans Are Smoking More Weed and Less Tobacco, Study Finds
culture  |  Nov 12, 2019

Young Americans Are Smoking More Weed and Less Tobacco, Study Finds

Why are younger folks, particularly college students, ditching tobacco and switching to weed? We have a couple ideas...

Why are younger folks, particularly college students, ditching tobacco and switching to weed? We have a couple ideas...

A new study among college students in the US found that weed use is steadily increasing while tobacco use continues its decline. 

The study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control’s Georgia office, was published this week in The American Academy of Pediatrics. It compiled survey responses of 18- to 22-year-olds between 2002 and 2016. Respondents were asked if they had consumed cannabis within the past month and within the past year.

During that study period, researchers discovered that college students reported smoking weed  — and not tobacco — within the past month (11.5 percent to 8.6 percent) and within the past year (14.6 percent to 10.8 percent) at slightly higher rates than young adults who were not in college. By 2016, exclusive marijuana use increased 8 percent among college students and 4 percent among adults not attending college. 

However, tobacco use trends went in the other direction regarding educational status. More young adults who were not in college smoked tobacco within the last month (17.7 percent to 10.4 percent) than college students. Past year tobacco use saw similar figures with 17.4 percent of non-college adults saying they smoked tobacco versus 12.2 percent of college students.

Overall, tobacco use decreased considerably among college students. In 2002, roughly 23 percent of college students said they only smoked tobacco within the past month. By 2016, that number dropped to just 10 percent. 

Gallery — The Famous and 420-Friendly:

The Georgia CDC study confirms results from an earlier Gallup poll conducted in July. According to the Gallup poll, in coming years, more Americans will be smoking weed than tobacco, given current use trends. 

Why are younger (and, by other accounts, older) folks ditching tobacco and switching to weed? Obviously, state-level marijuana legalization, along with federal hemp legalization, has rapidly pushed public opinion toward more favorable views of cannabis. In addition, more Americans today perceive cannabis as a much safer alternative to e-cigs or tobacco. 

So, here’s to a world where most Americans choose cannabis over booze, pills, and cigarettes. According to all the data, it’s just around the corner.

Follow Randy Robinson on Twitter

randyrobinson

Based in Denver, Randy studied cannabinoid science while getting a degree in molecular biology at the University of Colorado. When not writing about cannabis, science, politics, or LGBT issues, they can be found exploring nature somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Catch Randy on Twitter and Instagram @randieseljay

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