By Julian Teekaram, Weekend anchor/Video Journalist - bio | email
Lima Ohio -
Teens would rather smoke marijuana than cigarettes, according to a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Last year, the CDC surveyed 15,000 students nation-wide and found that only 18 percent smoked a cigarette in the past month, while 23 percent reported smoking marijuana in the last 30 days. Health experts say teens consider marijuana to be less dangerous than cigarettes, but Nurse Practitioner Monica Smith says pot can do even more damage to the body.
"They still have actually more carcinogens, carcinogens are what cause cancer in the marijuana itself. And marijuana unlike any other kind of tobacco product can alter brain chemicals," said Smith.
Behavioral Health Provider Beth West says making both parents and teens aware of marijuana's harmful effects can prevent drug use.
"Well a lot of education can help. Sometimes teenagers will quit using if they just get more education; and talking to parents about what to look for. Some parents don't even realize what their kids are doing, so teaching them about what to look for in the kids' room or what kind of behaviors to look for can help as well."
Some high-risk behaviors teens might engage while under the influence include unprotected sex with multiple partners, and not being honest with parents about what's going on in their lives.