The trend lines for cigarette smoking and marijuana use have crossed for the first time, with more Americans smoking marijuana than tobacco, NPR reports. A Gallup poll conducted in July showed just 11 percent of Americans smoke cigarettes, compared to 45 percent in the mid-1950s. Conversely, marijuana has been trending upwards with 16 percent of Americans smoking it and 48 percent saying they have tried it at some point in their lives. In 1969, only 4 percent of Americans said they smoked marijuana.
Attitudes surrounding both substances have shifted dramatically. A majority of Americans believe cigarettes to be "very harmful" to smokers and were aware smoking causes cancer. More than 9 out of 10 smokers said they wished they never started. In contrast, more than half of Americans think marijuana has a positive effect on people who use it. "Smoking cigarettes is clearly on the decline and is most likely to become even more of a rarity in the years ahead," Gallup Senior Scientist Dr. Frank Newport said. "This reflects both public awareness of its negative effects and continuing government efforts at all levels to curtail its use." Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but 19 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to regulate the legal, non-medical use of the drug, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.