Marijuana use has surpassed cigarette smoking for high school seniors, and the rush by states to sanction pot sales and use may be a reason, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a new report, the CDC said that 21 percent of seniors have used marijuana during the preceding 30 days. It was 19 percent for cigarettes.
Apparently pot use is on the rise in high schools, not just among seniors. For all high school grades, "exclusive" marijuana use doubled to 10.2 percent from 1997-2013. "The percentage of white, black, and Hispanic students overall who were exclusive marijuana users more than doubled, and marijuana use among cigarette or cigar users also increased, with substantial increases identified among black and Hispanic students toward the end of the study period," said CDC.
CDC did find some good news in its review of the 1997–2013 national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. The agency said that "exclusive" cigarette and cigar use among those in grades nine to 12 dropped 64 percent, to 7.4 percent.
The new report suggested that cigarette use is down due to the federal government's aggressive anti-smoking campaign. But at the same time, states have been legalizing and generally talking up marijuana, which has also had an impact.
"Increases in marijuana use among U.S. youths might be attributable to decreasing perceptions of harm from 1991 to 2013 (from 78.6% to 39.5%). More specifically, decriminalization and legalization of recreational marijuana use in some states with minimal concomitant public health messaging to address potential detrimental health effects of marijuana use might be contributing to this perception," said CDC.
By Paul Betard - The Washington Examiner/Oct. 16, 2015