Kids See Smoking as Riskier than Alcohol or Other Drug Use

About 70 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds see great risk in smoking a pack of cigarettes or more daily, compared to 40 percent who saw great risk in binge drinking and about 34 percent who perceived great risk in smoking marijuana monthly, according to research from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The report, drawn from findings in the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health, also found that roughly half of adolescents believed that using cocaine monthly or trying LSD once or twice was very risky.

Researchers said that while risk perception was relatively constant across age groups when it come to smoking, it varied more widely in regards to other substances.

“We are on the right track with cigarette smoking and need to keep raising awareness among teens about the dangers of other substances,” said SAMHSA administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “Understanding that perception of harm is a strong predictor of potential substance use among young people can help guide the development of substance prevention messages.”


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