A 2019 national survey reveals Americans believe marijuana is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco.
Even with marijuana remaining illegal at the federal level, a new survey shows when compared to tobacco and alcohol, cannabis comes in last as something Americans find harmful.
The survey’s report from Politico and Harvard School of Public Health reveals that not only are Americans three times as likely to view tobacco as “very harmful” over cannabis, but 18 percent of Americans believe that marijuana is “not at all harmful.”
“Of note, at a time when there is a debate about legalizing marijuana use, only 26% believe that marijuana is very harmful to people who use it,” the report’s authors wrote.
Nearly all survey respondents found alcohol and tobacco in some way harmful. In total, the survey revealed that 97 percent of Americans find alcohol harmful to some degree, 98 percent find tobacco harmful to some degree, and 79 percent of Americans find marijuana harmful to some degree.
Other information gathered from the survey shows 51 percent of Americans view alcohol as “very harmful” and 81 percent view tobacco as “very harmful.” The survey respondents’ views aren’t off base according to health reports. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death.
Cigarette smoking leads to more than 480,000 deaths in the United States each year, including more than 41,000 deaths linked to secondhand smoke exposure. The CDC reported that alcohol contributes to 88,000 deaths each year. No death due to marijuana overconsumption itself has been reported.
The views did not differ much between political party affiliation. The most drastic difference came in polling views of alcohol as “very harmful.” While Democrats (53 percent) and Independents (54 percent) were only one percentage point different, a lower number of Republicans (46 percent) reported alcohol as “very harmful.”
Another slight difference came in views of alcohol as not being harmful. While 1 percent of Democrats and Independents agreed alcohol was not at all harmful, 6 percent of Republicans found alcohol “not at all harmful.”
The new report is based on results from polling conducted by Politico and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The surveys were carried out via phone, polling a little more than 1,000 randomly selected adults from July 16-21, 2019.
The full survey, “American’s Views On Data Privacy & E-Cigarettes” can be found, here.
Cannabis Safer Than Tobacco
The Politico/Harvard survey is the latest showing a national consensus that Americans believe cannabis is safer than tobacco. In 2018, Gallup released similar findings. The Gallup surveyed Americans’ views on six inhalable products.
According to the survey, 82 percent of Americans viewed tobacco as “very harmful,” while 27 percent found marijuana as “very harmful.” The report also showed cannabis ranked as the least harmful compared to cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, and pipes.
A recent polling report from NBC News/Wall Street Journal also found that cannabis was viewed least harmful after tobacco and alcohol. That national survey also included sugar. Only 9 percent of those surveyed said they felt cannabis to be the most dangerous to their health of the four substances.
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