Marijuana Has Similarities To Tobacco | News, Sports, Jobs


On March 31, 2021, former New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo passed the Marijuana Tax and Regulation Act legalizing adult cannabis use and possession. For New Yorkers, this means that smoking and vaping cannabis is now subject to the Clean Indoor Air Act, which effectively makes it legal for use anywhere it is legal to smoke and vape tobacco.

The good news, thanks to the law, is that residents will not light (or vaporize) cannabis in almost all public and private indoor workplaces, including restaurants and bars, to protect employees and citizens against exposure to harmful second-hand products. tobacco smoke, vaping sprays and now – second-hand marijuana smoke (and its stinky smell).

To understand the potential public health effects of the new second-hand smoke, let’s start with what we know. Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, about 70 of which can cause cancer. Exposure to second-hand smoke (even briefly) can cause illness and death in infants, children and adults. It can cause bronchitis, pneumonia and ear infections in children and more frequent attacks in children with asthma. The Centers for Disease and Prevention Control (CDC) says that since 1964, 2.5 million non-smokers have died from health problems caused by exposure to second-hand smoke.

Emissions created by electronic cigarettes may also contain ingredients potentially harmful to public health, including nicotine, ultrafine particles, flavors (such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease), volatile organic compounds (such as benzene, which is found in car exhaust fumes) and heavy metals (such as nickel, tin, and lead).

The dangers of smoking have long been known, but what do we know about cannabis use? Not a lot, unfortunately, since cannabis use is still federally illegal.

What we do know is that second-hand marijuana smoke contains many of the same carcinogens and toxic chemicals as second-hand tobacco smoke. Some of the known carcinogens or toxins found in marijuana smoke include: acetaldehyde, ammoniacal arsenic, benzene, cadmium, chromium, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, isoprene, lead, mercury, nickel and quinoline. People exposed to second-hand marijuana smoke may have detectable levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in their blood and urine.

Bottom Line: Second-hand marijuana smoke and second-hand tobacco smoke are similar in many ways. Although more research and scientific evidence is needed to provide the facts, the body of current science shows that tobacco and marijuana smoke have a similar chemical makeup and can have harmful effects on cardiovascular health, such as atherosclerosis (partially blocked arteries), heart attack and stroke. .

In addition to public health, the health of Mother Nature must be taken into account. While cannabis is somewhat restricted under the Clean Indoor Air Act, consider the natural treasures of our community that are not covered. Places like parks, walking trails and other outdoor spaces. They also need protection.

For more information on ways you can help protect your community from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke and cannabis, email Ken Dahlgren of Tobacco Free Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany (TF-CCA) at [email protected]

Jonathan Chaffee is Reality Check Coordinator for Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Tobacco Free.

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