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Younger Americans More Likely To Smoke Cannabis Over Cigarettes

A new Gallup Poll reveals telling shifts among young Americans concerning marijuana and cigarette use.

According to a new poll released by Gallup, younger Americans are now almost twice more likely to smoke cannabis than traditional cigarettes.


Between 2016 and 2018, past-week cigarette smoking by adults 18-29 was around 15%. In the new survey, that amount declined to an all-time low of 12% from 2019-2022.

Likewise, 26% of adults in that same age group now say they smoke marijuana, up from 21% in the earlier polling period.


The new survey also revealed that 27% of Americans smoke cigarettes, cannabis, or e-cigarettes, with 7% only smoking marijuana, 9% only smoking cigarettes, and 3% only using e-cigarettes or vapes. The key takeaway from all the data gathered was that young American adults are now more likely to choose cannabis over traditional tobacco-based cigarettes.


The researchers attribute this trend to several potential factors, including educational campaigns concerning the detrimental effects of tobacco on human health, the decreased public perception of harm around marijuana, and the dramatic movement to legalize cannabis at the state level (over half of the states have legal adult-use cannabis).


Concerning their findings, Gallup said, "Public health officials would be encouraged by the steep decline in cigarette smoking over the past two decades, a trend driven largely by plummeting smoking rates among young adults. But young adults are increasingly smoking marijuana, perhaps because it is now legal to use in a growing number of states, and vaping. Both vaping and marijuana are more common activities for young adults than traditional cigarette smoking."


"Public health officials would be encouraged by the steep decline in cigarette smoking over the past two decades, a trend driven largely by plummeting smoking rates among young adults. But young adults are increasingly smoking marijuana, perhaps because it is now legal to use in a growing number of states, and vaping. Both vaping and marijuana are more common activities for young adults than traditional cigarette smoking."

- Gallup Poll on Marijuana vs. Cigarette Use Among Americans


The poll also found that 40% of Americans between 18 and 29 are the most likely demographic to smoke or vape something. Moreover, nearly four times as many of them exclusively smoke cannabis (11%) over only cigarettes (3%). Contrast that with those surveyed between the ages of 30 and 49, who said they were more likely to smoke cigarettes (11%) than cannabis (8%) over the past week.


The new survey included interviews with 3,545 adults from 2019-2022 and a margin of error ranging from 4 to 5 percentage points. Its results were released shortly after the polling agency's broader annual survey that contains questions regarding drug consumption trends among Americans. In that poll, roughly 70% of those interviewed said that cannabis should be legal, with majorities supporting legalization across all political affiliations and age breakdowns.


Overall, the newly released findings from Gallup continue to add more and more support to the louder and more fervent calls to end federal marijuana prohibition and legalize adult-use cannabis across the United States. Whether it be a poll commissioned by Fox News that found that 63% of Americans support an end to prohibition or another survey that showed a majority favor President Biden's decision to grant pardons to people who have committed federal marijuana possession offenses, the message is resoundingly clear.


Americans are more than ready for marijuana to be legal for recreational consumption. Furthermore, as our most recent election cycle demonstrated, the only issue that a majority of voters could find common ground on was, in fact, cannabis. Ironically, a plant that has been vilified as a destructive and unredeemable Schedule I drug on the federal government's Controlled Substances List for decades is now almost universally accepted as a positive step in the right direction for American public health use and policy.


Perhaps it is time to finally and forever put down the propaganda pipe and allow citizens of this great country to smoke something with a little more positive energy. After all, numbers don't lie.













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