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Marijuana Use is Higher than Cigarette Smoking Among College Students

First Posted: Sep 02, 2015 06:47 AM EDT

Marijuana use among college students may be the highest since 1980. Researchers have found that its use actually surpassed daily cigarette smoking for the first time in 2014.

In this latest study, the researchers surveyed U.S. collect students. This revealed that marijuana use has been growing slowly on nation's campuses since 2006.

Daily or near-daily use of the drug was reported by 5.9 percent of college students in 2014; that's the highest rate since 1980, which is the first year that complete college data were available in the study. This rate of use is up from 3.5 percent in 2007. In other words, one in every 17 college students is smoking marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis, defined as use on 20 or more occasions in the prior 30 days.

This isn't the only increase that researchers found, either. The percent using marijuana once or more in the prior 30 days rose from 17 percent in 2006 to 21 percent in 2014. In addition, use in the prior 12 months rose from 30 percent in2006 to 34 percent in 2014.

"It's clear that for the past seven or eight years there has been an increase in marijuana use among the nation's collect students," said Lloyd Johnston, the principal investigator of the new study, in a news release. "And this largely parallels an increase we have been seeing among high school seniors."

With that said, the nonmedical use of narcotic drugs in general has been declining among college students. This is particularly important to note, and is a welcome improvement from a public health point of view. With that said, it's important to monitor any rises in general, such as the use of marijuana and e-cigarettes and hookah.

The findings are available online.

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