Teens Get It: Marijuana and Tobacco Are Hazardous to Your Health

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hands extended refusing cigarette
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Picture a big party, attended by lots of people in your high school. Imagine that some people at the party are smoking marijuana or tobacco. How many people at the party do you think will be interested in smoking with them?

The answer might surprise you.

A tale of two declines

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health has been conducted every year from 2002 to 2016. The latest edition of this survey, from 2016, found that:

  • The number of young people who said they’d used marijuana in the past month went down from just over 8 percent in 2002, to under 7 percent in 2016.
  • The number of young people who said they’d had a problem with marijuana in the past year (this is what experts call “marijuana use disorder”) went down from 4.3 percent in 2002 to 2.3 percent in 2016.
  • The number of young people who said they’d used tobacco in the past month also went down dramatically: from about 15 percent in 2002 to less than 6 percent in 2016.

The truth is out there

It looks like more teens are getting the message that both marijuana and tobacco can do a number on their health. The smoke from both contains toxins (poisons) that can harm their physical health in all kinds of ways. And a person can become addicted to the nicotine in tobacco, as well as to marijuana. Something you thought was fun can turn into a lifelong problem.

When it comes to using marijuana or tobacco, more teens are choosing “none of the above."

Teens’ drug use has continued to decline—with one big exception. Learn more here.

Find Help Near You

Use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator to find substance use or other mental health services in your area. If you are in an emergency situation, this toll-free, 24-hour hotline can help you get through this difficult time: call 1-800-273-TALK, or visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We also have step by step guides on what to do to help yourself, a friend or a family member.

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