On Fox News it was reported that:
“A government survey shows more teens are now smoking pot than cigarettes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that 23 percent of high school students said they recently smoked marijuana, while 18 percent said they had puffed cigarettes. The survey asked teens about a variety of risky behaviors.
For decades, the number of teens who smoke has been on the decline. Marijuana use has fluctuated, and recently rose. At times, pot and cigarette smoking were about the same level, but last year marked the first time marijuana use was clearly greater.
An earlier survey by the University of Michigan also found that pot smoking was higher. A Michigan expert said teens today apparently see marijuana as less dangerous than cigarettes.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is an American Governmental body “Collaborating to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health..”
The have been able to track the figures down on their website. “The national YRBS is conducted every two years during the spring semester and provides data representative of 9th through 12th grade students in public and private schools throughout the United States.” This covers 14 to 18 year olds, with tobacco here.
There is of course a cast iron case for legalising cannabis. A victimless crime (when consumed), safe, hygienic manufacture and a source of tax revenue. The long term medical effects seems to attract contradictory evidence. The British Lung Foundation recently reported: “New report reveals dangerous lack of public understanding of the health risks of cannabis
Risk of developing lung cancer is up to twenty times greater in a cannabis cigarette than in a tobacco cigarette – yet 88% of the public believe tobacco cigarettes pose the greater risk.”
This is ably taken apart by Chris Snowdon.
My theory is that tobacco has been so demonised that it now seems that taking illegal drugs is more socially acceptable. It was reported in late 2009 that research from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that tobacco was cited as being more dangerous than cocaine, cannabis, and LSD.
“THURSDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) — American teens believe that smoking cigarettesis riskier than using illicit drugs or binge drinking, a new government report shows.
That perception may increase the likelihood that they’ll experiment with alcohol or illegal substances, the report authors said.
“We are on the right track with cigarette smoking and need to keep raising awareness among teens about the dangers of other substances,” Pamela S. Hyde, administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), said in a news release from the agency. “Understanding that perception of harm is a strong predictor of potential substance use among young people can help guide the development of substance prevention messages.”
Responses from 44,979 adolescents, aged 12-17, who took part in the 2007 and 2008 SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that teens’ perception of cigarette-related risk was constant among all groups, but there was considerable age- and gender-related variation in perception of risk associated with other types of substances.
Among the key findings:
- Nearly 70 percent of all respondents believed smoking one or more packs of cigarettes per day posed a major health risk.
- Only 40 percent of participants believed binge drinking (having five or more drinks of alcohol once or twice a week) posed a major risk, and only 34.2 percent thought smoking marijuana once a month posed a major risk. Using cocaine once a month was seen as highly risky by 49.7 percent of the adolescents, while 50.9 percent believed using LSD once or twice a month was highly risky.
- Girls were more likely than boys to associate great risk with smoking one or more packs of cigarettes a day, having five or more drinks of alcohol once or twice a week, and smoking marijuana once a month.
- Boys were more likely than girls to perceive great risk from trying heroin once or twice.”
Well done tobacco control, consumption is falling among teenagers, but mainlining heroin and crack cocaine is increasing. The CDC report I have mentioned above, although not overly statistically significant, saw cocaine usage go up from 6.4% to 6.8% from 2009 to 2011 for 14-18 year olds.
More unintended consequences and more potential social problems.