Pubdate: Tue, 29 Dec 2009
Source: New York Times (NY)
Column: Vital Signs
Page: D6
Copyright: 2009 The New York Times Company
Author: Roni Caryn Rabin
Referenced: The national drug use survey
Bookmark: (Youth)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Popular)


Most teenagers these days think smoking cigarettes is very dangerous.
Yet most adolescents also do not consider frequent binge drinking or
occasional marijuana smoking to be anywhere near as risky.

These findings are drawn from the responses of 44,979 people ages 12
to 17 who took part in national drug use surveys conducted by the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in 2007 and

While nearly 70 percent of youths perceived "great risk" from smoking
a pack or two of cigarettes a day, only 40 percent thought having five
or more alcoholic drinks once or twice a week was very risky, and only
34 percent perceived great risk from smoking marijuana once a month.
About half thought using cocaine or LSD once or twice a month was very

Use closely matches the perception of risk, said Pete Delaney, a
researcher with the administration, adding that only about 9 percent
of youths 12 to 17 said they smoked in 2008, while 26 percent of 16-
and 17-year-olds reported drinking. Some 12.7 percent of the older
teenagers reporting smoking marijuana.

"We're doing a great job convincing kids that smoking can really have
an impact on their health," Dr. Delaney said. "We need to learn how we
can help them understand other drugs can also cause harm."
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake