The Short of It
Parents may be breathing a sigh of relief that cigarette use is on the decline among teens, according to a recent study. But the number of kids who were using pot doubled recently.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks smoking among American teens, and found some fantastic news: Smoking in general amongst teens has dropped nearly 64 percent over the past few years. But the number of teens who reported marijuana use, while still small, doubled—and the report still found quite a few kids were smoking something: 30 percent of teens reported using cigarettes, cigars or marijuana in 2013, and the use of e-cigarettes and hookahs has increased.
The study authors cited the change in public attitudes toward marijuana as a factor behind the upswing in the number of teens smoking pot, which increased from 4 percent to 10 percent over the course of the study. "Over the last 10 or 15 years, there has been a change in public perception of marijuana," said Dr. Tim McAfee, director of CDC's Office on Smoking and Health. "There is the idea that marijuana is not something you need to worry about."
It looks like all those anti-tobacco campaigns over the past few decades are finally working—or else the new generation just finds the idea of cigarettes completely uncool. But with fewer ad campaigns against marijuana (which is still illegal in most of the country)—and fewer studies showing downsides to smoking pot—that seems to be becoming the smoke of choice for some teens.