In Washington State, Twice as Many Kids Smoke Marijuana Than Cigarettes

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SmokeWhile recent state survey data finds that cigarette smoking is down among the state of Washington’s high school students, the same results find a major upswing in the number of kids using marijuana.

In a survey of 200,000 young people taken last October, approximately 27 percent of 12th grade respondents said they regularly used marijuana, while nearly one-fifth of the state’s 10th grade students stated they had used it within 30 days of taking the survey. By comparison, just 15.6 of 12th grade respondents reported cigarette use, while just 9.5 percent of 10th grade respondents reported tobacco usage.

Similarly, researchers from the state’s Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery -- a division of Washington’s Department of Social & Health Services -- found that fewer teens are viewing marijuana as a “harmful drug.”

While nearly two-thirds of 10th grade survey respondents considered marijuana a “harmful” substance in 2000, just 46 percent of 10th grade respondents perceived the drug to be dangerous in 2012. 

While marijuana use may be up, researchers say that, like cigarette use, alcohol usage by the state’s teens has declined considerably. From 1998 to 2012, the number of 10th graders that reported drinking alcohol decreased by half, with the latest survey results finding that, since 2010, a total of 11,000 fewer students -- the equivalent of the combined populations of six of the state’s larger high schools -- reported using alcohol. 

Photo by cagrimmett | Flickr