May 24, 2024

Battle of the Century: Tobacco vs Weed

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A compelling story; one of generational divide, full of outlaws and old money. Big men in bigger suits, meanwhile the youth dressed in trendy clothes fighting back. It’s known to be the Battle of the Century. The battle between Big Tobacco and Weed. 

Ever since weed hit the college campus scene during the CounterCulture movement in the 60’s, tobacco has been fighting back. Dating back to its prior conception in the early 20th century, tobacco has been playing its political hand. Big Tobacco had been lobbying itself in the White House for years up to this point in an attempt to remain legal, regardless of its many health risks. It was right around the late 50’s when Big Tobacco was first being threatened. Research was starting to be presented proving that tobacco can cause lung cancer. So as weed was rising in popularity amongst the youth and arguably, their future clientele just 5 years later, they panicked! They backed political candidates who pushed the narrative that weed was the “Devil’s lettuce” and promised to protect Big Tobacco. To this day, Big Tobacco continues to have a long list of Politicians they help support throughout the U.S. Now with the rise of the marijuana industry, tobacco sales have been greatly affected in those states where cannabis has been legalized. 

Tobacco was right to fear Marijuana as a competitor. Surveys conducted within the recent years have proved that young people around America are starting to prefer weed over cigarettes. A study conducted back in 2018, found that about 275,500 young people in the span of ten years reported that marijuana was their first choice of substance (Springer). Another survey found that tobacco use has fallen significantly in the last 7 decades, from 45% of Americans choosing to use tobacco down to 15% (Jaeger). 

The CDC has also found that tobacco has decreased in manufacturing since 2018, only spending around $576.1 million on advertising. They also found overall sales have been fluctuating since 2014. The CDC has also found marijuana to be the most commonly used drug of choice in 2019, estimating around 48.2 million people throughout the U.S. who choose to use cannabis. 

It seems like tobacco is starting to become a thing of the past. As the younger generation starts to turn its favorable attention more towards cannabis and its many uses, it might be weed that wins this war.

Sources: Springer, Kyle Jaeger, CDC ( 1 ) ( 2 )

Images: Nima Ashkbari, anaitfilm

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