Teens Picking Pot Over Cigarettes Drug czar blames Prop 19, medical marijuana for rise By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Dec 15, 2010 10:32 AM CST 46 comments Comments A demonstrator who shaved a marijuana leaf into his chest hair smokes a marijuana joint on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 20, 2010. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Pawel Dwulit) (Newser) – Marijuana use is up again among teens, rising for the first time in nearly a decade—and President Obama’s drug czar blames California’s legalization measure Proposition 19, among other things. A new government survey found that 21.4% of high school seniors said they smoked pot in the last 30 days, the Los Angeles Times reports. The good news? Only 19.2% said they smoked a cigarette in the same period—the first time marijuana use was higher than tobacco use in that age group since 1981. But drug czar Gil Kerlikowske says the upswing in youth pot use, which is likely to continue, is cause for concern—and that teens have taken the “wrong message” from measures like Prop 19 and the use of marijuana medicinally. The survey also showed a rise in daily use of marijuana in 12th-, 10th-, and 8th-graders, with 6.1% of seniors saying they toke daily, the highest rate since the early '80s. Attitudes toward other drugs like Ecstasy were also shown to have loosened among teens, which experts call a case of “generational forgetting” since younger people may not have been exposed to as many anti-drug messages.