A nine-year study done at the University College London revealed that smart teenagers are twice as likely to smoke weed, due to their curious minds, than their less academic peers.
The landmark study of 6,059 teenagers throughout England from all types of schools found that high academic achievers at the age of 11 were more likely to drink alcohol as teenagers and more likely to smoke pot than cigarettes.
This was thought to be a result of middle-class parents being more inclined to warn their children of the dangers of tobacco and smoking traditional cigarettes.
The study, published in the journal BMJ Open, found that intelligent youngsters had more of a tendency to smoke weed in their late teenage years—between 18 and 20—because they are more curious and have a stronger desire to be accepted by their older peers.
Researchers found that teens were “initially cautious of illegal substances in early adolescence as they are more aware of the immediate and long-term repercussions that breaking the law may incur than those with lower academic ability.”
During their late teens, the brainy ones were also more than twice as likely to drink alcohol regularly and persistently than those who got lower grades.
“High childhood academic at age 11 is associated with a reduced risk of cigarette smoking but an increased risk of drinking alcohol regularly and cannabis use,” according to the study.
Although Dr. James Williams, who led the study, said there has been a general downward trend in smoking weed and drinking alcohol among teenagers.
He told the Daily Telegraph: “These risky health behaviors present a large problem in terms of public health as substance use is a risk factor for immediate and long-term health problems, as well as negative non-health outcomes such as poor educational and employment outcomes.”
Williams, from the UCL Medical School, noted that understanding risk factors for adolescent substance use was important in public health policymaking and for targeting interventions among teenagers as high-risk groups.