For the first time since 1975, the “Monitoring the Future” survey revealed that marijuana use has finally surpassed cigarette use, at least for 12th grade students. The new federal report showed that six percent of 12th graders use weed every day, while only 5.5 percent smoke cigarettes in a daily basis.
This might be due to the changing perception on pot. In fact, only 32 percent of high school seniors now think that regular pot use can be harmful – a four percent drop from last year.
“The sense that marijuana has medicinal purposes and that doctors are prescribing it creates a sense that this drug cannot be so harmful,” said Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, which funded the research. “All of those factors have led many to predict that there would be an increase in the pattern of use of marijuana among teenagers.”
But it’s not just the policy changes surrounding marijuana. The rise of e-cigarettes has also sowed skepticism on students, as they are not sure what exactly they are inhaling. “There’s been evidence that some of these e-cigarette devices release chemicals that are toxic to the body,” Volkow said. “Since there is no control over manufacturing products, the quality of these products varies. I think this is an area that requires investigation to actually assess the potential harmful effects.”
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