US Poll Shows Marijuana Use Tops Tobacco for First Time

Credit: Martijn Baudoin

A landmark poll in the U.S. has shown that marijuana use is greater than tobacco for the first time. The recently released Gallup poll showed that 16 percent of Americans said they smoked marijuana, compared to 11 percent who had smoked tobacco in the past week.

For comparison, a Gallup poll from the year 1969 showed that at that time, just four percent of Americans admitted they had even tried marijuana – compared to 48 percent today. But polling data from that same year revealed 40 percent of Americans had smoked tobacco cigarettes in the past week – and that number was the lowest recorded by Gallup on that issue between 1944 and 1972.

Marjiuana and tobacco usage trends have been going in opposite directions for a few decades now. By 1985, nearly as many Americans said they had tried marijuana (33 percent) as had smoked a cigarette in the past week (35 percent), according to News9.

Cigarette smoking has been declining ever since. By 2013, just 19 percent of Americans were smoking cigarettes at least once a week. The trend toward more marijuana smokers is driven by young people.

The National Institutes of Health reported last week that more young adults used marijuana in 2021 than in any year prior. Nearly a third (30 percent) of adult respondents under the age of 35 admitted to Gallup this year that they smoke marijuana. That’s significantly higher than those aged 35-54 (16 percent) or 55-plus (seven percent).

And just eight percent of adults under 35 are smoking cigarettes at least once a week. Slightly more adults aged 35-54 (10 percent) or 55-plus (14 percent) said they had.

The higher rates of marijuana smoking come with major political implications. A record high percentage of Americans (over two-thirds, per Gallup) say they favor legalization of recreational marijuana.