Adults See Alcohol, Cigarettes Riskier Than Marijuana

Americans view alcohol and cigarettes as more dangerous than marijuana.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that just 17% of Adults rate use of marijuana as riskier than drinking alcohol. Fifty percent (50%) say alcohol is more dangerous, while 26% rate the two as equally risky. These findings are consistent with a survey last August.

Even a majority of adults who drink alcohol rate it as more dangerous than marijuana. Those who never drink alcohol are more closely divided.

Similarly, 46% say smoking cigarettes is more dangerous than smoking pot. Twenty-four percent (24%) disagree and say marijuana use is more dangerous. One-in-four (25%) view the two as equally dangerous.

Twenty-six percent (26%) of adults say smoking cigarettes should be outlawed, while 42% think marijuana should remain an illegal drug.  Americans are evenly divided over whether marijuana should be legalized in the United States, but most expect legalization to happen within the next decade.

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The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on July 21-22, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Men feel more strongly than women that both alcohol and cigarettes are more dangerous than marijuana. Adults across all age groups share that belief, although younger Americans believe it even more strongly.

When it comes to alcohol, twenty percent (20%) of Americans drink several times a week, including nine percent (9%) who drink every day or nearly every day. Twenty-seven percent (27%) say they never drink.

Forty percent (40%) of Adults say they have smoked marijuana at some point in their lives. Eleven percent (11%) say they’ve smoked it in the past year. Those ages 18 to 29 are much more likely to have smoked marijuana in the past year than their elders.

Men drink more heavily than women. Twice as many married adults say they drink every day than unmarried adults, but unmarrieds are more than twice as likely as marrieds to have smoked pot in the past year. Those who say they’ve smoked marijuana drink more than those who have not tried pot.

– Press release from Rasmussen Reports.

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