A new Gallup poll has found that more Americans now use marijuana than smoke cigarettes.
According to results released last Friday, 16% of Americans say they currently smoke marijuana, while only 11% say they are cigarette smokers.
Cigarette consumption has been steadily declining for several decades. At its peak in the 1950s, 45% of Americans admitted to using the product.
Gallup’s chief scientist, Dr. Frank Newport, attributes the downward trend to public attitude. In 2019, 83% of respondents said they thought cigarettes were “very harmful”, while 14% said they were “somewhat harmful”. In 2013, 9 out of 10 adults said smoking caused cancer.
Even cigarette users are well aware of the side effects of the habit: in 2015, 91% of smokers said they wished they had never started.
“Smoking cigarettes is clearly on the decline and is expected to become even rarer in coming years,” Newport said.
“This reflects both public awareness of its negative effects and continued efforts by government at all levels to limit its use.”
Meanwhile, more and more Americans are turning to the benefits of marijuana. In a July poll, 53% of respondents said the drug had a positive effect on those who used it.
Gallup’s findings also revealed that 48% of respondents said they had tried marijuana at some point in their life. In 1969, when the question was first asked, only 4% of people said they had tried the substance.
The new findings come two years after the market research firm revealed that support for marijuana legalization had reached a record high of 68%.
Even so, not everyone is convinced that cannabis is the way of the future. Earlier this summer, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a new law banning both cigarettes and marijuana from public parks and beaches.
“Smoking is a dangerous habit that affects not just the smoker but everyone around them, including families and children enjoying large public places in our state,” Hochul said in a press release.
The latest poll also comes just days after the Post reported on a recent study published by Lancet Psychiatry warning of the risks of “cannabis use disorder”, which causes psychosis and addiction.
Speaking to Fox News, Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, warned that a slight increase in the THC content of recreational marijuana poses a particular risk for youth.
“Using marijuana as a young person alters the brain in ways that make it more sensitive later on to the rewarding and addictive effects of other drugs,” Volkow said.
New York Post