ROCHESTER, Minnesota – Marijuana smokers are now overtaking cigarette smokers in the United States and it’s a trend Olmsted County is also seeing.
According to Olmsted County Public Health, in 2019 a community health needs assessment showed that 4% of community members reported smoking cigarettes, compared to 7% who reported smoking marijuana.
Those numbers appear comparable to a new Gallup poll nationally showing that only 11% of Americans say they smoke cigarettes. This is down from 45% in the 1950s.
Marijuana use is on the rise, with 16% of Americans admitting to smoking marijuana and 48% saying they’ve tried it.
That’s a significant increase from just 4% in a 1969 survey.
Local health services specialist Pa Houa Moua said staff have been working on tobacco control and reducing consumption for 20 years, which includes three main prescriptions. The first started in 2001.
Moua explained, “It was our smoke-free restaurant ordinance and we were actually the first county in Minnesota to enforce it. Then in 2007, so five years later, we adopted our smoke-free workplace from Olmsted County and we were the second largest county in the state Most recently, in 2019, it actually passed in 2021, raising the minimum purchase age from 18 to 21.
KIMT News 3 asked if there are likely to be any orders or similar campaigns regarding marijuana use as it continues to rise.
Health services specialist Taylor Gray said: “We are in conversation and looking at what more we can do about this. We know substance use is a priority for the county so we will continue those conversations. while working collaboratively with our community.”
As marijuana use increases, alcohol remains the most popular substance; 67% of Americans in the most recent poll say they drink, which is consistent with a 1939 report that showed 63% of Americans reported drinking.