A new Gallup poll revealed that more Americans are now using marijuana than smoking cigarettes.
According to the results published last Friday, 16% of Americans say they currently smoke marijuana, while only 11% reported being cigarette smokers.
Cigarette use has been on a steady decline for several decades. At their peak, in the 1950s, 45% of Americans admitted to using the product.
Gallup Senior Scientist Dr. Frank Newport attributes the downward trend to public attitude. In 2019, 83% of respondents said they thought cigarettes were “very harmful,” while 14% said they were “somewhere harmful.” In 2013, 9 out of 10 adults said that smoking causes cancer.
Even cigarettes users are well-aware of the habit’s side effects: in 2015, 91% of smokers said they wished they had never started.
“Smoking cigarettes is clearly on the decline and is most likely to become even more of a rarity in the years ahead,” Newport said.
“This reflects both public awareness of its negative effects and continuing government efforts at all levels to curtail its use.”
Meanwhile, more Americans are coming around to the benefits of marijuana. In a July poll, 53% of people said the drug had a positive effect on those who use it.
Gallup’s findings also revealed that 48% of respondents said they had tried marijuana at some point in their lives. In 1969, the first time the question was asked, only 4% of people said they had tried the substance.
The new results come two years after the market research firm revealed that support for the legalization of marijuana hit a record 68%.
Even so, not everyone is convinced that cannabis is the way of the future. Earlier this summer, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a new law banning both cigarettes and marijuana from public parks and beaches.
“Smoking is a dangerous habit that affects not only the smoker but everyone around them, including families and children enjoying our state’s great public places,” Hochul said in a press release.
Speaking to Fox News, Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, warned that an uptick in the THC content of recreational marijuana poses a particular risk to young people.
“The consumption of marijuana as a young person modifies the brain in ways that make it more susceptible later on to that rewarding and addictive effects of other drugs,” Volkow said.