Wednesday, January 31, 2024

2023 High School Seniors Preferred Alcohol and Marijuana, But Almost Abandoned Cigarettes


My readers know that I have followed the results of the annual Monitoring the Future Survey (MTF) for many years, focusing on alcohol, marijuana and tobacco use among high school seniors.  The 2023 MTF results, released in December (here), indicate that past 30-day (i.e., current) use of all products declined from the previous year (as seen in chart at left).    

Despite its illegality, drinking alcohol retained its decades-long top-substance status among seniors at 23%, down significantly from 28% in 2022.  Marijuana was second at 18%, one point higher than the 17% of seniors vaping nicotine in the past 30 days, which was a significant 4 percentage point decline from the year before.  Happily, current smoking remained at the bottom of the chart, at a new low of 2.9%.    

Another fascinating MTF finding (not on my chart) is that 18% of seniors currently consumed flavored alcohol, one point higher than those who vaped nicotine.  Protecting teens from flavors has driven the FDA’s attempts to ban vape flavoring and these products are being prohibited outright in jurisdictions across the country.  Flavored alcohol is far more dangerous for teens, but those products are apparently beyond the FDA’s reach, and no one has yet established a Campaign for Alcohol Free Kids. 


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