The Times They Are A-Changin’: More people now use cannabis than smoke cigarettes

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It appears, finally, that cigarettes don’t have much of a future in the US. According to a recent Gallup pole more people now use cannabis – 16% of adults – than smoke cigarettes – 11%.

Importantly, the figures have been trending this way for a half century. For example, in 1969 only 4% of people used cannabis versus 40% for cigarettes, representing approximately a 4-fold shift in both cases.

The reason, says Gallup, is that “recognition of smoking’s downside is almost universal,” and so they predict that smoking cigarettes “is most likely to become even more of a rarity in years ahead.”

The converse is true with cannabis: a little more than half of Americans say cannabis’s effect on those who use it is positive and therefore, says Gallup, its use will probably increase in years to come.

The data on the age divide backs this up: younger age groups overwhelmingly prefer cannabis to cigarettes. For instance, 30% of people in the 18 – 34 age group use cannabis, compared to a mere 8% who smoke cigarettes; whereas in the 55-plus age group, only 7% use cannabis while double that number, 14%, smoke cigarettes.

Or as one poet and Nobel laureate put it way back in the early ’60s:

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’

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