At least partially because healthy kids are more likely to grow up to be healthy, long-term taxpayers, the federal government spends a lot of time studying the bad habits of America's children. So when the National Institute of Drug Abuse released its 36th annual Monitoring the Future report showing that use of marijuana and ecstasy by teenagers has increased while consumption of alcohol had declined, everybody wanted to get in on the action.
The National Institutes of Health said the report indicated that 12th graders are now more likely to smoke marijuana than tobacco. But the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids interpreted the data as showing that tobacco use among teenagers is increasing.
To the Distilled Spirits Council, the survey confirmed that drinking among American teenagers has reached an all-time low.
Finally, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) took the opportunity to blame the increase in marijuana use among teenagers partly on the "mixed messages" being sent by states that approve the use of medical marijuana.
As recently as 2003, the ONDCP was touting a report showing that American teens were adopting an "increasingly anti-marijuana attitude."
Photo: Young Smokers in Boston -- Darren McCollester/Getty Images