A government survey was published this week that shows that American Teenagers are now smoking marijuana more than they are smoking cigarettes. A report that came out on Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 23 percent of high school students admitted that they had recently smoked marijuana. 18 percent of high school students said that they had smoked a cigarette recently.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been tracking teen risk behaviors and smoking rates for a few decades now. The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System is a survey that monitors six different types of health risky behaviors that contribute to the top causes of death or disability among teens. They track sexually behaviors, diet, exercise, injuries and alcohol, tobacco and drug use. Tobacco use has been steadily declining, but marijuana use in teenagers has been fluctuating over the last 10 years. Teen marijuana usage dropped from 2007 to 2009. but then rose from 2009 until 2011.
The statistics for 2011 is the first time that marijuana usage has outpaced tobacco usage in teens according to the YRBSS survey. Similar studies have also shown a trend uptick in teen marijuana use, experts say that teens today see less risks involved with smoking marijuana to smoking cigarettes. Just for comparison, teen use of inhalants, heroin, methamphetamines and cocaine have had no significant change since 1999. Just having tried marijuana at least once has gone from 31.3 percent in 1991, to an all time high of 47.2 percent in 1999. It rose from 36.8 percent in 2007 to 39.9 last year. Teens that admitted to using marijuana one or more times in the last 30 days before taking the survey went from 14.7 percent in 1991, to an all time high of 26.7 in 1999 and then rose from 21 percent in 2009 to 23 percent in 2011. Smoking tobacco at least one day out of the last 30 for teens has been steadily trending downward from an all time high in 36.4 in 1997 to only 18 percent in 2011.