How many people smoke pot in Switzerland?

Many do not admit that they occasionally “smoke one”. For good reason, because on the one hand this is still forbidden, on the other hand a large part of the population still reacts with aversion to smoking pot. And yet it is always a question: How many people smoke pot in our country?

If you do surveys and ask people if they smoke pot, you will only partially hear the truth. There are those who give information about their THC consumption without further ado. Others, however, don't even tell close friends about their preference. Nevertheless, there are various studies that try to find out how many people actually smoke pot. The first problem is, of course, who is a pothead? Do you have to smoke at least 22 joints a day, or is one joint every 2.5 weeks enough for this label? Or one hash scone per year? Most studies help themselves with the following questions.

Possible questions

Either you are asked whether you have ever smoked pot in your life (i.e. used hashish or weed ). This so-called lifetime prevalence of course says nothing about the current consumption. The answer to such a question is whether someone has had experience with THC at some time or has never come into contact with it.

Or it is asked whether one has used in a certain period of time (for example today, this week, this month, in the last twelve months). This tells you something about recent consumption.

And finally, you can also ask people how often they use cannabis: Never? Annually? Monthly? Weekly? Daily? Several times a day? This is how you ask about a person's specific, current pattern of use.

Current health survey

The Swiss Federal Statistical Office (SFSO) has conducted a survey every five years since 1992, asking various questions about health. This is a very comprehensive study; 31,000 households were surveyed. 19,700 people agreed to provide information about their situation. The survey also asks about the consumption of psychoactive substances, whether legal or illegal. Now the third study (after 1992 and 1997) is available for the year 2002. With regard to cannabis use, the study asked, “Did you use hashish or marijuana in 2002?” To this, 4.7 percent of respondents answered yes. Extrapolated to the entire population between the ages of 15 and 64, this amounts to 225,000 people. Among men, the proportion was 6.6 percent, and among women, 2.9 percent. This corresponds quite well to the empirical value that for every two men who smoke pot, there is one woman who smokes pot. In the last ten years, we have seen a doubling of the rates for both men and women.

The percentage frequency of cannabis use by gender (in the health survey of the Federal Statistical Office) then looks as follows:

  • In 1992, the share was 1.4% for women and 3.4% for men.
  • In 2002, the share was 2.9% for women and 6.6% for men.

Comparison of two studies

li283133gb.jpg li283133co.jpg

On the left side we see the graphic of the BfS health survey. On the right, we have the results of a study conducted by the Link Institute on behalf of the Coop newspaper. If we compare the two studies, the following stands out. According to the BfS, 4.7 percent said they had smoked pot in 2002. In the Coop survey, by contrast, 7 percent said they “still smoke hashish or cannabis today.” The difference is huge; about 50 percent more . . .

In the individual age groups, the differences are just as large - even if one cannot compare them directly, because the BfS indicates five age groups and the Coop survey only their three. Nevertheless, it can be seen that in this survey more people in all age groups stated that they smoke pot. If you extrapolate the 7 percent from the Coop survey, you arrive at around 350,000 people who smoke pot in our country. Compared to the 225,000 people in the BfS survey. Where is the truth now? Well, in the end nobody knows. A large part of the smokers will certainly not give an honest answer when asked about cannabis consumption. After all, this behavior is punishable by law - so there is probably a large number of unreported cases. So one has no choice but to estimate - and then comes to about 500,000 stoners in Switzerland, who at least every few weeks pull on a joint. However, there are far fewer THC lovers who smoke a joint every day.

Last modified: 2022/03/26 16:23
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