For decades we've known about the many dangers of smoking, and yet people continued to do it. But as the years have gone by, younger generations have been picking up the habit less and less. And it turns out they're actually smoking cigarettes less than pot.
A survey released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that 9.7 percent of high school seniors in the United States reported smoking a cigarette in the past 30 days. In comparison, 22.9 percent of seniors said they'd used marijuana in the past month, and 16.6 percent said they'd use a vaping device. The study also found that teen use of alcohol, tobacco, prescription opioids and stimulants has either declined or stayed steady with last year, all of which are at their lowest levels in 20 years. Likewise, marijuana use among teens is staying rather consistent and not increasing, despite what anti-cannabis crusaders would tell you.
Some experts express concern about vaping, saying that it's a gateway to cigarettes or marijuana use. (Where have we heard that before?) However, 51.8 percent of teens said they vaped "only flavoring," with no nicotine or marijuana added.
The smoking rates are pretty dramatic compared to the past. In 1996, 10.4 percent of eighth graders said they smoked cigarettes daily. That number is down to 0.6 percent today. And 24.6 percent of high school seniors said the same in 1996, which is down to 4.2 percent in 2017.
Obviously, the use of marijuana among teens shouldn't be encouraged. There are mixed studies on how cannabis use affects the teenage or developing brain. But it certain doesn't carry nearly as many health risks as smoking cigarettes, so that has to be viewed as a positive.
(h/t New York Times)