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Study: More teens smoking pot than cigarettes

Marijuana use has overtaken cigarettes among teens, according to a new study.

The increase comes as fewer teens are drinking alcohol as well, researchers from Penn State have found.

The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health on Monday, looked at substance abuse data from American high school seniors collected between 1976 and 2013 as part of an epidemiological study from the University of Michigan. More than 600,000 students were interviewed over the years.

The students were asked about their use of marijuana, cigarettes and alcohol in the last 30 days. In general, cigarette use declined over the years — but marijuana’s popularity is only increasing.

Black teens’ use of marijuana has increased steadily since 1993, the researchers found. The shift towards marijuana started in 2011 for white teens, and by 2013, 22 percent of white teens reported smoking marijuana in the last month and 19 percent had smoked cigarettes.

For black teens in 2013, just 10 percent smoked cigarettes but 25 percent smoked marijuana, according to the study.

Among both groups, marijuana use peaked in the 70s and dipped in the 90s before climbing up to current levels.

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But black teens have smoked consistently fewer cigarettes since the 70s. For white teens, cigarettes’ popularity stayed high until taking a dip in the last five years.

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In general, both black and white teens are drinking less alcohol year after year — but it remains the most popular mood-altering substance among teens.

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