Although the legalization of marijuana has been a slow moving process, a new Gallup poll suggests that young Americans might be reaping some of the benefits. The poll finds that Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 are more likely to smoke marijuana over cigarettes.
Over the past four years, the amount of Americans who consume marijuana has been at a steady 12%. The new data reveals a changing perspective on smoking tobacco, a number that has dropped from 45% in the 1950s to 15% in 2019.
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This change is a result of many factors, such as the evolving conversation surrounding marijuana and the new found support for its medicinal value. At the same time, it’s also a tough moment for the tobacco industry. Aside from the undeniable negative side effects that come with smoking, the tobacco industry has also received negative criticism over their marketing strategies and the fact that they target neighborhoods of lower incomes.
“The once commonplace habit of cigarette smoking has dwindled to the point that fewer than one in seven Americans smoke,” Gallup explains. “And although smoking has long been associated with lower socio-economic groups, smokers are now an exceedingly rare breed among upper-income and highly educated Americans.”
The poll points out that despite marijuana’s legal status, adults under the age of 30 still prefer it over smoking cigarettes. Adults over this age don’t share this perspective, being more likely to smoke cigarettes than marijuana.
The future of the U.S. tobacco industry continues to grow more complex, with a large focus on the e-cigarette industry, which only recently began to be regulated by the FDA. While many believe e-cigs are a safer alternative than tobacco, authorities are concerned by the amount of teens that are partaking, and the ease with which these tools can bypass security measures.