Young Adults More Likely To Smoke Weed Than Cigarettes, Poll Finds

(Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA / AFP) (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images)

James Lynch Contributor
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Marijuana usage among young adults aged 18-29 has increased significantly over the past decade, while cigarette smoking by the same group has plummeted.

According to Gallup data, those aged 18-29 who say they smoke marijuana increased from 17% between 2013 – 2015 to 26% by 2022, a total more than twice the number of young adults who smoke cigarettes. Marijuana smoking also increased by 6% with adults aged 30-49 since 2013 – 2015, Gallup recorded.

Only 12% of those aged 18-29 smoke cigarettes, compared to 21% from 2013 – 2015 and 35% between 2001 – 2003, according to Gallup. The decline was similar along gender lines, and has been greater among young adults without a college degree than those with a college degree. (RELATED: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Pardons Everyone Convicted Of Simple Marijuana Possession)

Young adults were once the most likely to smoke cigarettes and now do so less than all groups but Americans aged 65+. The amount of young adults who have smoked cigarettes in the past week is less than the 18% of adults aged 50-64 who have done so, Gallup reports. This figure for 50 to 64-year-olds dropped by 6% when Gallup last recorded data on the subject from 2016 – 2018.

A notable portion of young adults have replaced cigarette smoking with vaping, according to the poll. Since 2019, Gallup has measured vaping among young adults, who do so the most at 19%. The total percentage of young adults who smoke cigarettes or e-cigarettes is 27%, more than any other demographic.

When marijuana is factored in, four in 10 young adults either smoke marijuana, cigarettes or e-cigarettes, the most of any age group. Another 14% of young adults smoke two of the three, with the majority of them smoking marijuana and e-cigarettes but not cigarettes, Gallup added.

The smoking data by age comes from Gallup’s annual Consumption Habits survey, conducted each year from 2001-2022 with an exception made in 2020. Three year aggregates are a sufficiently large sample to obtain stable estimates of smoking habits of young adults over time, the analytics firm noted in its report.