January 10, 2023 08:00 am ETEstimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
Are young Americans making a shift from smoking tobacco to smoking something else? According to Gallup, yes.
A new poll released by Gallup says that young Americans are twice as likely to smoke cannabis than cigarettes. While some people might be alarmed to hear this, others feel relieved. This is because although smoking as a practice poses risks of its own, cannabis is a much cleaner substance than cigarettes. If cannabis had never been placed under federal prohibition, chances are the majority of America would be smoking some form of it, be it recreational or medical cannabis or hemp.
But that wasn’t part of the plan for the early founders of our country. During the early 1900s, companies began cementing their legacy by purchasing political sponsorships in the form of campaign contributions. This practice still goes on today. Cannabis was demonized, criminalized, and anyone who was caught with it was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Because of this, tobacco and tobacco products such as cigarettes were allowed to thrive and were often beautified in marketing. Let’s take a closer look at tobacco and its legacy.
The Legacy of Tobacco in America
Tobacco is a staple of the American lifestyle. The cowboys of the wild west have often been portrayed as smoking roll-your-own cigarettes while sitting around campfires or riding on horseback. Countless pictures show soldiers during wartime taking a cigarette break. Marijuana prohibition effectively began in 1937. Tobacco, meanwhile, was allowed to thrive. The tobacco industry was one of the most profitable industries in the world. They raked in unsurmountable amounts of profit. After trying a cigarette, many people found themselves craving another one. The mild buzz and head change they provided became a go-to in stressful situations.
While there are other forms of consuming tobacco, such as chewing tobacco, snuff (dip), and cigars, cigarettes still remain the most popular. The tobacco industry grew to become so large it garnished the name Big Tobacco. In 1994, the Mississippi attorney general, Mike Moore, brought the first lawsuit against the tobacco industry, claiming that big tobacco was the main contributor to rising healthcare costs. In 1998 the state reached a deal with the tobacco industry resulting in a payment of $246 billion over a 25-year period. This seems like a victory, but before this happened, cigarettes were around $2 a pack. Now they’re around $10. It seems like somebody is making some good money. Did they really pay anything back with price increases like this?
In 2006, Judge Gladys Kessler oversaw a case against tobacco companies presented by the American Cancer Society and others. This case resulted in Judge Kessler finding the tobacco industry “guilty of lying to the American public about the deadly effects of cigarettes and second-hand smoke.” Unfortunately, many of the people who choose to smoke cannabis still smoke cigarettes. A lot of people use cigarettes to cover up the smell of cannabis so as not to catch an earful from their boss or family member.
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Between the federal government’s lack of oversight and regulation of the tobacco industry combined with its prohibition of cannabis, it’s amazing that every man, woman, and child in the nation isn’t addicted to cigarettes. They were glorified in early advertisements in ways many people today would find simply disgusting. The popularity of smoking cigarettes has continually been decreasing as cannabis legalization breaks down negative stigmas of the past. In a separate Gallup poll, more Americans said that in the last seven days, they had eaten cannabis-infused edibles or smoked weed in comparison to those that reported smoking cigarettes.
Cannabis for the Win
When it comes to the question of which is healthier—consuming cannabis or consuming tobacco—the answer is easy. Consuming cannabis is much better for you than consuming tobacco. Let’s take a closer look at cannabis versus tobacco.
The terpenes, cannabinoids, flavonoids, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids found in cannabis have beneficial properties. The same cannot be said about the things found in cigarettes.
When someone smokes a cigarette, that smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals! Hundreds of these chemicals are reported to be toxic, and around 70 of them have the potential to cause cancer. In comparison, a study showed that a typical cannabis joint contains around 2,600 chemicals in its smoke, mainly due to the combustion of plant material.
Cigarettes cause cancer, and cannabis helps fight cancer. Cigarettes have been legal for decades, and cannabis has faced decades of prohibition. Americans have consumed cigarettes freely for decades. Cancer now runs in abundance in America. Seems like good business for big pharma, big tobacco, and the insurance industry if you ask me. If more young Americans are smoking cannabis than cigarettes, this is a change I personally welcome.
Ashley Priest is a patient, mother, entrepreneur, and activist that fights to end prohibition globally for a better future for all. Ashley has a passion for sharing education pertaining to the goddess plant known as cannabis. She believes that a single seed can tip the scales and that together through education we can end the stigma that is preventing cannabis from flowering to its full potential globally.
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