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Teen pot use at 25-year high

By Hempology | October 30, 2003

From CBC News, October 29th, 2003

OTTAWA– A Health Canada survey suggests teens are increasingly more likely to smoke marijuana than tobacco cigarettes.

The survey found that 54 per cent of the 15 to 19 year olds polled said they’ve smoked pot more than twice, the highest reported use in 25 years, according to Health Canada.

The poll of 1,250 people aged 12 to 19 found that, overall, 34 per cent of young people have used pot.

Ten years ago, studies showed about 12 per cent of teenagers smoked pot.

On the other hand, the latest national figures show that only 22 per cent of teens smoke cigarettes regularly.

“I think what it means is that we have done a very good job of convincing kids not to smoke tobacco for whatever reason than we have of convincing them not to use cannabis,” said Richard Garlick of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

Garlick said part of the reason is that is easier for teens to get pot. The price of cigarettes and ID checks at stores that sell them have cut tobacco use.

Officials from the health department presented the findings last week to a parliamentary committee studying the bill to lower the penalties for possession of marijuana.

Health Minister Anne McLellan said the government is not giving a mixed message about marijuana.

“This government is not saying smoking marijuana is a good thing,” she said.

“It is bad for your health. It is a dumb thing to do, especially if you’re young,” said McLellan.

McLellan said Ottawa will use the information in the study to change the message it’s sending to teens about smoking tobacco and marijuana.

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