New Study Says Teens Are Smoking More Marijuana Than Cigarettes

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A new study shows that while teens may be smoking less cigarettes, they are using more marijuana. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the survey showed increases in marijuana use among all age groups, but for the first time, fewer high school seniors said they smoke cigarettes.

According to Reuters, 46,482 students from 396 schools were surveyed. More than 21 percent of high school seniors said they had smoked marijuana in the past month, while 19.2 percent admitted to smoking cigarettes.
The study also showed that more than 6 percent of seniors use marijuana every day, which is up 5 percent from 2009. More than 3 percent of sophomores and 1 percent of eighth graders said they used marijuana daily, too, which is another increase since last year.

National Institute for Drug Abuse director Dr. Nora Volkow said that the high rates of marijuana use among teens are of concern because the brain is still developing. "Not only does marijuana affect learning, judgment, and motor skills, but research tells us that about one in six people who start using it as adolescents become addicted," she said.

So what could be causing the increase in marijuana use? Federal officials say teens may think marijuana is safe and acceptable since it can be legally obtained in certain states with a doctor's prescription.

"Mixed messages about drug legalization, particularly marijuana, may be to blame," said Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, who also added, "We should examine the extent to which the debate over medical marijuana and marijuana legalization for adults is affecting teens' perceptions of risk."

What do you think of the survey's findings? Do you think that cigarette smoking is down, but marijuana smoking is up in your school? Let us know in the comments.%Poll-57437%

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