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Poll Finds That More Americans Now Smoke Cannabis Over Cigarettes

Emily Mullins

by Emily Mullins

February 7, 2024 11:52 am ET Estimated Read Time: 2 Minutes
Fact checked by Kymberly Drapcho
Poll Finds That More Americans Now Smoke Cannabis Over Cigarettes

Cigarette smoking has plummeted in the United States over the last fifty years, which is great news for the health of Americans nationwide. In the 1950s, almost half of Americans smoked cigarettes. Today, that number hovers around 16%.

Although nicotine vaping is now more prevalent than ever, it’s still a less popular option than another key substance–cannabis. The most recent Gallup poll results on marijuana found that 17% of Americans smoke cannabis, up from just 7% a decade ago. These percentages vary slightly among different age groups, with 26% of young people between 18-34 reporting cannabis use.

Only 5% of this age group reported smoking cigarettes, highlighting the stark contrast between generations. On the flip side, 11% of those 55 and older consume cannabis, compared to 13% of this age group who still smoke cigarettes regularly.

“A separate question finds that half of adults (50%) say they have tried marijuana,” Gallup writes, up from just 4% in 1970. The cannabis revolution is certainly working and changing people’s minds regarding the substance, as the same polling found that an astonishing 70% of Americans are in favor of broader cannabis legalization.

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Another Gallup survey published in August 2023 discovered that Americans now find marijuana safer to consume than alcohol, cigarettes, and other forms of tobacco such as cigars or vapes. Forty percent of Americans believe cannabis is safe for personal use, compared to just 4% who view cigarettes in the same light.

State marijuana legalization is often associated with decreased amounts of cigarette and alcohol use, which is a significant step forward for many United States citizens. Cannabis consumption is now more widely accepted than abortion, gay marriage, and other hot-button issues.

Bear in mind that this survey only reflects the opinions of those who smoke cannabis, so the number of people who consume edibles, tinctures, and other forms of marijuana could actually be higher.

As time passes, we may find that even more Americans become comfortable with marijuana and move away from tobacco use altogether.

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