College Students Are Using Marijuana More Frequently Than Cigarettes, Study Says

For the first time in 34 years, the percentage of habitual marijuana users edged out cigarette smokers.

When walking around Allston, don’t be surprised if you smell the scent of marijuana more frequently than cigarette smoke.

That’s because a new study out of the University of Michigan called the “Monitoring the Future” study, which tracks American college students’ use of drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes each year, found that more students reported regularly smoking marijuana than cigarettes. The responses from 2014 showed almost 6 percent of students using marijuana on 20 or more days out of 30, whereas 5 percent smoked cigarettes as frequently.

That difference may not seem vast, but it’s the first time in the study’s 34-year history that marijuana use has surpassed cigarette smoking among the university population. Plus, the study showed that habitual pot use is up from 3.5 percent in 2007, at the same time cigarettes are rapidly losing popularity, with the percentage of regular smokers dropping from 20 to 5 percent in the last 15 years. The study also showed that America’s college students are drinking less than in past years but using some drugs, like cocaine and heroin, slightly more often.

The changing state of marijuana use, the researchers theorized, is likely due to more relaxed views of pot and better education about the dangers of smoking cigarettes. The results are also in keeping with a changing demographic of pot smokers, which has widened beyond the stereotypical in recent years. 

While it’s always encouraging to see fewer young people smoking cigarettes, switching to marijuana may not be any better—health-wise. Research has shown that using the drug can damage lungs, change young brains, and lead to addiction and withdrawal.

That said, perhaps almost two decades of Truth commercials and stunts actually worked.