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More American adults now smoke cannabis than cigarettes

For the first time on record, regular cannabis usage has surpassed cigarette use in the US, according to a new Gallup poll, which found only 11% of respondents were smokers – the lowest number since data collection started in 1944.

Alcohol continues to be by far the most used substance, with about 45% of respondents reporting they had had a drink within the past week. This trend has “remained relatively constant over the years”, according to Gallup.

Cannabis use has increased dramatically over the past half-century and is currently the highest Gallup has ever recorded, reports CBS News.

Of the American adults taking part in the poll, around 16% said they currently smoke cannabis , while nearly half said they have tried it at some point in their lifetime. When the question was first asked in 1969, only 4% of respondents said they had tried it.

That same year, 40% of respondents said they had smoked cigarettes in the same week. But during the past decades, cigarette use has decreased among Americans.

In the poll conducted last month, only 11% of respondents reported being smokers, which was a significant decrease from even the previous year, when 16% of respondents reported smoking cigarettes in the past week. In the 1950s, 45% of adults polled said they smoked cigarettes.

In 2019, 83% of respondents believed smoking was “very harmful” to adults who smoke, and another 14% said it was “somewhat harmful”. In 2013, more than nine in 10 respondents said smoking caused cancer and 91% of smokers polled in 2015 said they wished they had never started smoking.

“Smoking cigarettes is clearly on the decline and is most likely to become even more of a rarity in the years ahead,” said Gallup senior scientist Dr Frank Newport. “This reflects both public awareness of its negative effects and continuing government efforts at all levels to curtail its use.”

Meanwhile, Americans’ views on the impact of cannabis are less negative – 62% of adults aged 18-34 and 53% of those aged 35-54 said that cannabis has positive effects on those who use it, according to another Gallup poll conducted in July. And 49% of respondents said marijuana has a positive effect on society.

Young Americans are smoking cannabis at the highest rate, with nearly a third of respondents under 35 saying they smoke cannabis . But of that age group, only 8% are smoking cigarettes at least once a week.

Although cannabis for recreational use is still illegal in more than half of all US states, it is now legal in some form in 38 states, which may be a contributing factor to its rise in popularity. And the number of cannabis consumers will probably continue to rise as more states legalise the drug, an idea supported by 68% of US adults, according to Gallup – a record high.

“It should be noted that some authorities argue that cannabis is quite dangerous, particularly for young adults, and it is possible that attitudes toward its use could change if focus on the downsides of cannabis increases in the years ahead,” Newport said.

 

 

CBS News article – For the first time, Americans are smoking more marijuana than cigarettes, poll finds (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

US young adults using cannabis and hallucinogens at highest rates ever – NIH

 

Cannabis vaping skyrockets among high school students in the US

 

Is marijuana as safe as we think?

 

Americans say marijuana, vaping less harmful than tobacco – Gallup

 

 

 

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