It’s not unknown that college is a time for young adults to really try and find out who they are – and that comes with testing limits of all kinds. For many, that means deciding whether or not to try alcohol and or drugs if they never did during high school. For those who were already into that crowd it may just mean going one step further and indulging more often than just Friday after the football game.
When it comes to college kids and smoking, it has never been uncommon to meet one or two that smoke marijuana – and often times far more than that who smoke cigarettes. In 2015, the records are showing that for the first time, more college students smoke cannabis on a regular basis than those who smoke cigarettes.
Personally, I see this as a big win. I would much rather see young people smoking marijuana than smoking tobacco. There are many reasons for this, mainly the fact that marijuana is non-addictive and will not cause lung cancer like cigarettes do. I think that college kids are educated well enough (and know how to educate themselves well enough) to know the risks and decided that weed is their safest vice.
The percentage of college students smoking marijuana on a regular basis is the highest it’s been since the 80s – and the number of occasional users is up from 17% in 2004 to 21% in 2014. Also, just to back up my own opinion, the number of people (ages 19-22) who believe marijuana use is dangerous has decreased from 55% to 35% during the same 10 year period.
While the number of marijuana smokers has significantly increased in the last 10 years, the number of students who smoke cigarettes has definitely declined. In 1999, 31% of college students reported that they smoked at least one cigarette in the last 30 days – in 2014 that number was down to 14%. Those who smoke daily has decreased from 19% to a mere 5% in the same period.
Though students are clearly finding that they have safer and more natural alternatives when it comes to a personal vice, there is still a large number of students who choose to drink alcohol regularly; some at clearly dangerous levels.
35% of students in college report heavily drinking (defined as 5 or more drinks in a row in the previous 2 weeks) and 43% of students reported having been drunk in the previous 30 days. Surprisingly, it seems to be a college trend to get heavily drunk on a regular basis as the statistics are significantly higher than their peers who are not in college.
The truth is, it’s college, and kids are going to party no matter what. The good news here is that even though there is still a large percentage of students drinking regularly, there is also a growing amount who prefer to go with a safer and more natural intoxicant that will not impact their bodies to nearly the extent that alcohol or cigarettes does.