Most Americans are in agreement that cigarettes and other tobacco products are very unhealthy. According to a new Gallup poll, most respondents think cannabis is far less harmful than most tobacco products.
The survey represents the first time Gallup has sought Americans’ views on a wide range of tobacco products, including cannabis.
Ninety six percent of the respondents were clear that cigarettes are harmful. Of those, 82 percent said that cigarettes are “very harmful.” Fourteen percent said that cigarettes are “somewhat harmful.”
By contrast, 63 percent of those surveyed believe marijuana is harmful; 27% said it’s “very harmful,” while 29 percent said it is “somewhat harmful.” Twenty-four percent said weed was “not too harmful,” and 18 percent said they thought marijuana was not harmful at all.
Of those polled, 5% said they consume cannabis on a regular basis; 8% said they only use it occasionally.
Participants in the survey were also asked for their perception of the harmfulness of four additional tobacco products: cigars, chewing tobacco, and pipe tobacco. Everyone called them “very harmful.”
Vaping e-cigarettes was seen as relatively safer than smoking, while 38 percent thought vaping was “very harmful.”
While the survey revealed the belief that cigarettes are harmful was nearly universal, cigarettes are the most commonly used product on the list. Twenty percent of respondents said they smoked cigarettes “regularly” or “occasionally.”
Marijuana was the second most commonly used product: a total of 13 percent said they smoked cannabis.
When the survey asked about respondents’ usage of tobacco products, 16% said they had smoked a cigarette in the past week. That number is about one-third the figure recorded in the 1950s and about half the rate of the 1980s.
Cigarette smoking seems to be going out of style, thankfully, especially among young people.
Young adults aged 18-29 showed the greatest drop in the rate of cigarette smokers.
Since 2001, the rate of cigarette smoking by this age group has fallen by more than half.
The poll essentially shows a reversal in the long-standing trend of smoking being more popular with young people than middle-aged and older Americans.