Teenage Tobacco Use Drops But Marijuana Use Increases

teen girl smoking weed

Is it the 60’s all over again, minus the tie-dye shirts and peace signs? A dramatic increase in the use of marijuana among teenagers may beg this question? More importantly, what does this mean for those teenagers partaking in the use of marijuana? What they may refer to as weed, pot, grass, bud and the list goes on. Have drug education programs in our country not focused enough on marijuana? Are parents not as on the ball with doing everything possible to inform their children on the negative effects of this drug and the importance of eliminating its’ use? Whatever the reason is, the teenage use of tobacco has decreased, while the use of marijuana has climbed.

The Statistics

The Partnership at Drugfree.org conducted anonymous surveys of 3,322 teens in grades 9-12. The survey result found that nearly 1 in 10 teens said they smoke marijuana at least 20 or more times a month! Believe it or not, this is an 80 percent rise in past-month marijuana use among teens since the organization’s 2008 survey.

What should also cause some alarm is the fact that teenagers smoking marijuana 20 or more times a month went from 5 percent in 2008 to 9 percent last year, or about 1.5 million teens smoking pot that frequently.

And why are teens increasing their use of marijuana and decreasing their use of tobacco?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a survey which found that 23 percent of high school students say that they’ve recently smoked marijuana, while 19 percent of high school students say that they’ve recently smoked cigarettes.

One expert says that a factor in the rise in marijuana use is that teens perceive the drug to be less harmful to their health than cigarettes.

The Parents’ Role

Unfortunately, Partnership at Drugfree.org President, Steve Pasierb, reports the mindset among parents is that a little marijuana or a few pills are no big deal.
Is this true? Should parents primarily focus on harder drugs?

Well, let’s consider this simple fact. Teens who smoked marijuana 20 times or more a month were almost twice as likely as kids who smoked less frequently to use ecstasy, cocaine or crack, according to the report.

It’s important for parents to properly educate their children in the health risks of marijuana itself and the very real danger of it leading to the use other street drugs.

Some Of Marijuana’s Mental And Physical Health Risks

1. Are cigarettes are worse for you than marijuana? People who smoke marijuana often have the same respiratory problems as cigarette smokers. These respiratory problems may include daily coughing and phlegm production, even symptoms of chronic bronchitis, and frequent colds. What about those cancer-causing chemicals found in cigarette smoke?

Well, marijuana contains some of the same, and sometimes even more, of same those very cancer-causing chemicals

2. Marijuana can bring about an increase in lung infections like pneumonia.

3. A study from 2009 suggests that regular and long-term use of marijuana may increase the risk for testicular cancer.

4. Marijuana affects brain function. This can cause difficulties in the ability of a person to do more complex tasks and can blunt an individual’s ability to carry out academic, athletic and other goals that require one to be focused and alert.

5. Studies have shown that early use of marijuana may increase a person’s risk of developing psychosis (a severe mental disorder in which there is a loss of contact with reality), including delusions, hallucinations, etc.

6. Addiction is also possible with the long-term use of marijuana.

For more information on what you can do to better inform your teenager on the dangers of marijuana use, please contact our drug rehab services organization today.



Sue Birkenshaw

Sue has worked in the addiction field with the Narconon network for three decades. She has developed and administered drug prevention programs worldwide and worked with numerous drug rehabilitation centers over the years. Sue is also a fine artist and painter, who enjoys traveling the world which continues to provide unlimited inspiration for her work. You can follow Sue on Twitter, or connect with her on LinkedIn.