Fewer Teens Smoking Cigarettes, But Twice as Many Using Pot

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joint_620x350A recent report disclosed that smoking among teens living in the U.S. has dropped to 64 percent; however, the statistics for marijuana use among teens has doubled.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 30 percent of white, black, and Hispanics have smoked cigarettes, cigars or marijuana in 2013. The researchers have tracked teen smoking rates from 1997 to 2013. Vince Willmore, the president for communications at Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, stated that this is a good start in seeing the numbers of teen cigarette smokers decline. Actions carried out by health organizations and media campaigns, along with city officials, have made it increasingly inconvenient for existing smokers to light up in public venues, which include: college campuses, offices, restaurants, and bars.

Likewise, placing heavy taxes on tobacco has discouraged numerous consumers from spending such a significant amount of money on cigarettes.

As a whole, the report found that the number of teens who smoked cigarettes or cigars dropped from 10.5 percent to seven percent, while marijuana usage increased from four percent to 10 percent. An even more drastic increase of marijuana use was recorded amongst teenage smokers of cigars and cigarettes, from 51 percent to 62 percent.

According to the report, between the years 2009 through 2013, marijuana usage among black teens increased from approximately 11 percent to nearly 17 percent. Hispanic teens usage of marijuana exceeded the previous 8.6 percentile mark and rose to approximately 14 percent.

Dr. Tim McAfee, the director of the CDC s Office on Smoking and Health believes that over a number of years, the public perceives the drug (marijuana) as something harmless. There has not been enough research conducted to discuss the negative side effects of marijuana usage. McAfee did clarify that one of the definitive downsides of marijuana use is the potential impediment of a teenager s developing brain. The brain does not reach full maturation into approximately 22 years of age. Therefore, if marijuana does obstruct the ability of a teen s brain to properly develop, this so called safe-drug, is in fact hindering the healthy development of teenager s and young adult s brain functionality.

So smoking cigarettes is no longer a widespread rite of passage, now marijuana is.Smoking is no a socially unacceptable activity but marijuana is considered both harmless and cool.

Young people remain a population of malleable individuals but policy makers and adults need to realize they are not helping them if they encourage swapping out one kind of smoke for another.