Marijuana use set to pass tobacco use in the United States

Marijuana use among American adults has more than doubled since 2002. In the last three years alone marijuana use has nearly doubled: from 7 percent of Americans in 2013 to 13 percent today. Marijuana use isn’t ahead of tobacco use yet but it’s definitely catching up. The number of regular marijuana users in the United States is at 33 million, with 40 million regularly using tobacco.

While marijuana use may be on the rise, tobacco use has been decreasing over the last few decades. According to the CDC, the current trends of cigarette smoking among high school students AND adults in the united states are at an all time low. Since 1965 cigarette smoking in adults has gone from 43% to 18% in 2014. Student smoking is at an all time low as well with only 16% of students smoking cigarettes in 2014.

More states have been legalizing marijuana. Half of the states in the country currently allow medical marijuana in some form. Four states currently have recreational marijuana laws and nine are voting to legalize marijuana this November. This green rush is what’ll likely lead marijuana use to surpass tobacco use in the United States.

“States’ willingness to legalize marijuana could be a reason for the uptick in the percentage of Americans who say they smoke marijuana, regardless of whether it is legal in their particular state,” Justin McCarthy wrote the poll for the poll service. “Gallup finds residents in the West – home of all four states that have legalized recreational marijuana use – are significantly more likely to say they smoke marijuana than those in other parts of the country.”

Even though pots becoming more acceptable in the West of the United States, many Eastern states are more conservative in their approach to marijuana. The Christian Science Monitor noted in May:

“Political leaders in liberal Massachusetts, the state that introduced an Obamacare-like system, balk at legalizing marijuana. And Vermont, home of socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, criticized Massachusetts’s marijuana initiative as too lax and killed its own fledgling pot bill.

‘We in the Commonwealth would be better watching and learning from the case study of Colorado for five or six years, rather than just two,’ [Republican Massachusetts state Sen. Viriato deMacedo, one of nine senators who went on a four-day fact-finding mission to Colorado] tells The Christian Science Monitor in an interview.”

Although Massachusetts’ government seems to oppose the legalization of marijuana the states residents will be voting on recreational use via referendum in November, alongside California, Arizona, Nevada, and Maine.

The number of Americans who have tried marijuana is also on the rise according to the results of a poll. The poll asked Americans if they “ever happened to try marijuana?” The poll focused on the youth starting at the 1960s and the rate has increased by 11 percent in 1972 and 43 percent today.

The rising popularity of vaporizers and e-cigarettes has also decreased the number of cigarette smokers but this might change after the new FDA enforced rules. Vape shops will no longer be allowed to compare vapor products to cigarettes, so they can’t tell you it’s healthier. They cannot help customers troubleshoot their vaporizers so elderly customers who aren’t as tech savvy might not be able to figure out how to use the vaporizer. This will lead more people to turn back to cigarettes but experts still believe marijuana will surpass tobacco use over the next several years.

image: bigstock

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