For Teens, Why Are Cigarettes Harder To Get Than Marijuana?

Mike Meno passes along some new statistics:

Marijuana use by 8th, 10th and 12th grade students increased in 2010, with more American teenagers now using marijuana than cigarettes for the second year in a row, according to numbers released today by the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the University of Michigan as part of the annual Monitoring the Future survey. In 2010, 21.4 percent of high school seniors used marijuana in the last 30 days, while 19.2 had used cigarettes.

“It’s really no surprise that more American teenagers are using marijuana and continue to say it’s easy to get. Our government has spent decades refusing to regulate marijuana in order to keep it out of the hands of drug dealers who aren’t required to check customer ID and have no qualms about selling marijuana to young people,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. 

Drug dealers not checking ID is a legitimate point to raise. Additionally, many dealers are themselves under-age - as any high school student can attest. One reason teens have such easy access to drugs is because dealers are embedded in their social networks. It's usually easier to ask a peer for a dime-bag than it is to ask an older sibling for a pack of smokes or a six-pack.