Cigarettes Aren’t Cool. Smoke a Joint Instead.

It feels obvious, cigarettes just aren’t cool anymore. I can count the number of tobacco smokers I know on one hand and they are all either very casual about it or trying to quit. Actually, if we include Backwoods, I’d have to roll that statement back. More and more it seems that tobacco’s place is primarily as a wrapper in a blunt.

Speaking of which are you really going to read this without ordering some weed? Grab yourself something nice.

Sure that’s a colloquialism with which you might not agree, but increasingly others do. A recent survey from Gallup has shed light on the changing drug consumption trends among Americans. According to the survey, young people are more than twice as likely to smoke marijuana compared to cigarettes. In the age group of 18-29, past-week cigarette smoking declined from 15% in 2016-2018 to a new low of 12% in 2019-2022. Meanwhile, 26% of adults in that age group reported smoking cannabis, compared to 21% in the earlier survey period.

Overall, the 2019-2022 data shows that 27% of Americans smoke cigarettes, marijuana, or e-cigarettes. Gallup found that seven percent smoke cannabis alone, nine percent smoke ciggies alone, and three percent smoke e-cigarettes alone. However, as the devil’s lettuce is a federally illegal drug, self-reporting on its usage may not be entirely accurate. Some cannabis consumers may be reluctant to incriminate themselves. You know who you are…and so does your FBI Agent buddy. Listen, next time Gallup hits you up, just tell the truth. No one’s judging you here.

Not surprisingly, people in the 18-29 age category are the most likely to smoke or vape something, with 40% reporting past-week usage. However, almost four times as many young people smoke only marijuana (11%) as they do only cigarettes (3%). In contrast, people in the 30-49 age group were slightly more likely to say they exclusively smoked cigarettes in the past week (11%) than those who only smoked cannabis. (8%)

It is important to note that the individual language of Gallup’s questions about cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and marijuana are distinct. The cigarette question asks about “past-week” usage, whereas the cannabis question is more general, without a timeline. Additionally, respondents were asked about “smoking” marijuana, which would potentially exclude a significant portion of the cannabis-consuming population that uses edibles, vapes or other non-combustible products. In that sense it’s kind of a wash both ways. I guess it’s more useful to look at the general sentiment which is: Marijuana Good – Tobacco Less Good.

The dataset, which involved interviews with 3,545 adults for the 2019-2022 results, with a margin of error ranging from 4-5 percentage points, was released on the heels of Gallup’s broader annual survey that includes questions about drug consumption trends. Sounds like a fun poll to take part of! That poll found that 7/10 Americans say that marijuana should be legalized, including majorities of all political parties and age demographics. The findings and demographic trends from the survey are generally consistent with recent polling on the issue. Maybe obviously, the same young adults who are most likely to report smoking marijuana compared to cigarettes are also the most likely to say that the plant should be legalized federally in the United States.

In August, Gallup separately posted up a data analysis that found, for the first time, that more Americans openly admitted to smoking marijuana or eating cannabis-infused edibles than those who said they’ve smoked cigarettes in the past week. It’s slow progress with our neighbours to the South. Maybe the headline should be “Some Americans Finally Honest About Their Drug Habits!”

It’s a “no brainer,” why joints are beating butts. Weed gets you high, tobacco doesn’t. It’s kind of wild that  we need to go much further than this point alone. Perhaps people will argue that Nicotine provides a buzz, but get real. That buzz sucks. Yes, that’s the scientific term for it, “sucky buzz.”

Also, weed is awesome, and I know good tobacco smells great and has nuances, however in my opinion they are pale in comparison to cannabis. The cacophony of smells and flavours available from one single plant is unmatched, and the fact that they all interact with an entourage effect in the smokers’ mind and body is just so much cooler that a pack of ciggs will ever be. If cannabis users decide to quit smoking, they can move on to edibles, tinctures, extracts or dry herb vapes.

This is all without mentioning the smell. It used to be much more common for public places to smell like cigarette smoke, but it is increasingly seen as embarrassing. Many people today smell weed in public and laugh. If they smell tobacco in public they say “gross.” It’s that basic. Culture has shifted. Perhaps my bias is showing here, but most smokers agree that weed smoke dissipates while tobacco clings.

You can assume what’s next is that the big cigarette companies and alcohol companies will “join ‘em” because everyone sees they can’t “Beat ‘em.” In fact on a recent trip to San Diego I saw PBR Weed Seltzer on the shelf at a dispensary. The market is primed for recognizable names. It will be interesting to see how consumers preferences will play out. Will they choose the little guys “for the culture!” or will big companies come in and sweep it all up. An interesting question to ask might be, “Where are all the boutique AAA cigarette brands today?”

TLDR: The older you are the more likely you are to smoke only butts. The younger you are, the more you might think that’s “Gross.” I think we can assume a trend here.

Gallup Poll:

Gallup Poll from August:


By Richard “Dick” Weed, Ganja Guru and Guest Contributor for Potsmart

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