Cannabis smoke from bongs is worse than cigarettes for passive smokers, study finds, Science News

Smoking is harmful to health. But what could be more dangerous? The answer is secondhand cannabis smoke from a bong, researchers say.

The study was published Wednesday in the journal “JAMA Network Open.”

Concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) generated during social smoking of cannabis bongs in a home to which a non-smoking resident may be exposed were elevated relative to background levels, and that PM2.5 does not are broken down only gradually after smoking cessation, the study authors found.

After just 15 minutes of smoking, the average PM2.5 was more than double the threshold set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for hazardous air quality.

The authors, who are from the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, wrote that smoking a bong “is not safe”.

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“Decades ago, many people believed that second-hand tobacco smoke (SHTS) posed no health risk to non-smokers. Since then, scientific research has changed this perception and led to smoke-free environments. Misguided beliefs about the safety of second-hand cannabis smoke (SHCS) promote indoor cannabis use,” they said.

“Non-smokers are exposed to even higher concentrations of SHCS materials during ‘hot-boxing,’ the popular practice in which cannabis smokers produce large volumes of smoke in an enclosed environment. The results of this study suggest that SHCS in the home is not safe and that the public perception of the safety of SHCS needs to be addressed.

To reach a conclusion, the researchers measured PM2.5 levels of members of the Environmental Health Sciences Division before, during and after eight sessions of smoking cannabis in a room.

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Smoking a cannabis bong at home increased PM2.5 from background levels approximately 100- to 1000-fold for six of eight sessions. During the other two sessions, background levels were high and PM2.5 increased more than 20-fold.

During the first 10 minutes, average PM2.5 concentrations increased to 410 micrograms and 570 micrograms after 15 minutes. After 30 minutes the level was 1000 micrograms and it rose to 2500 micrograms in one sitting.

(With agency contributions)

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