NJ hates cigarettes more than weed (Opinion)
It’s official. For the first time in the United States more people are smoking the wacky tobacky more than the actual tobacky.
According to a just-released Gallup poll, more people now use marijuana than smoke cigarettes. 16% to 11%.
Just a year ago 12% called themselves marijuana users, so more states legalizing recreational adult use really seems to have either normalized it so that more admit to it, or possibly even created more users, or both.
The percentage who called themselves cigarette smokers was 16% a year ago. Down 5 points to 11% in one year is a huge decline.
Gallup Senior Scientist Frank Newport says:
“Recognition of smoking’s downside is almost universal. Smoking cigarettes is clearly on the decline and is most likely to become even more of a rarity in the years ahead.”
In New Jersey, we’ve historically had a lower smoking rate than the national average. When nationally it was 16% we were at 13.5%. Have we dropped below 11%? Probably. Do we now socially accept marijuana smokers more than cigarette smokers? Possibly.
At the same time, the public was supporting further restrictions on smoking in public places in the Garden State we were embracing recreational adult-use weed. That went before the voters in a ballot question in 2020 and passed overwhelmingly. Yet smoking bans at beaches and parks were popular. A Fairleigh Dickinson University poll in 2018 found 75% of New Jersey residents supported a ban on smoking at the beach.
Cigarette smokers in New Jersey seem vilified while marijuana smokers are sought after. There’s even a difference in the smell of it. Granted, this is just my opinion, but walking by the smell of cigarette smoke versus walking by the smell of marijuana is the difference between the offensive smell of poison and the sweet smell of a good time.
How weird will it be in another 10 years when your average pothead is routinely granted far more respect than the guy seen smoking his Marlboro Reds? That the Don Draper character (“Mad Men”) will someday be regarded as the loser over the Dale Denton character (“Pineapple Express”) is mind-boggling.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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