Tokers Over Smokers: Cannabis Use Set To Eclipse Tobacco

More People Likely to Smoke than Drink

Slowly but surely, Americans are kicking their cigarette habits and picking up joints instead.

Reported cannabis use is at an all-time high, according to results of a Gallup poll released Monday. Since states began legalizing small amounts of cannabis for adults in 2012, the number of American adults admitting to using marijuana nearly doubled, from 7 percent in 2013 to 13 percent earlier this summer.

That’s “such a large spike” in marijuana use that cannabis consumption “could overtake” tobacco use in a matter of a few more years, the Christian Science Monitor is predicting.

So much for just saying no.

Consider: there are now 33 million cannabis users in America, if the 13 percent figure is to be trusted. And with tobacco use finally plummeting after decades of awareness of smoking’s terrible toll on health not to mention public education campaigns, often funded by the cigarette tax — the number of tobacco users has dropped to 40 million.

If these two trends continue, there could be more cannabis users than tobacco users in America by 2020.

It’s still not entirely clear if more Americans are trying cannabis as more and more states legalize recreational marijuana, or if Americans are finally willing to be honest about their use.

A majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana, and a vast majority of Americans support allowing sick people to access medical cannabis. At the same time, more and more lawmakers are pushing for cannabis-friendly policies, so there’s no doubt the general atmosphere in the country is more welcoming to cannabis than ever before.

Then again, cannabis use has risen steadily over the past four decades, even as the federal government cracked down hard. Only 11 percent of Americans had tried the drug when Gallup first asked the question in the early 1970s, prior to the passage of the Controlled Substances Act. Several decades later, that number rose to 43 percent.

Meanwhile, five more states are slated to vote on whether to legalize small amounts of recreational cannabis for adults: California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Arizona.

Do you choose cannabis over tobacco products or partake in both smokes?

Chris Roberts has written about medical cannabis, drug policy, and legalization ever since spending a few months in Humboldt County in 2009, with bylines for the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, and SF Weekly. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @cbloggy.

3 Comments

  1. Rob

    October 31, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    I do both, but I am really wanting to kick the cigarettes. It is a terrible thing I wish I would never have done to myself. I wonder of those numbers, how many cross into both statistics, like myself. Then, I would wonder if there is any relation for the willingness to smoke vs the willingness to try cannabis, and vice versa. While they are not the same I find few who smoke cannabis that do not also smoke cigarettes.

  2. Garden Girl

    August 29, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    I’m 61 with approved medical conditions. Cannabis works much, much better than the handful of prescription pills four times a day. Unfortunately I can’t afford to purchase it other than for my suicide due to pain or toke days. It should be legal to grow your own! Living on disability should not equal physical suffering, I really don’t mind being poor – it has made me a better person.

  3. Leo Dearing III

    August 27, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    Quit cigs 2 years ago, should have never started. Started cannabis in 1970 while in the Air Force. Old tricky Dick Nixon had me in the service and on top of that started the war on drugs. I am now retired, 68 years old, and cannabis doe’s me more good than the 15 pills the MS.’s want me to take. Can not wait until the whole country comes to it’s senses and legalize the plant. The long nightmare will be over.

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