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Tobacco smoke worse than marijuana - But 'weed' still a lung-cancer risk

Published:Sunday | April 4, 2010 | 12:00 AM

There is mixed news for those who would differentiate between marijuana and cigarette smoke. Dr Aldyth Buckland said "they both pose inhalation risks, but these are not similar. Cigarette smoke inhalation causes 85 per cent of cancer of the lung in men. Marijuana smoking increases the risk of lung cancer in smokers.

Persons are blending both tobacco and marijuana and the combination is dangerous. Tobacco smoke is worse than marijuana because it contains nicotine, which is more addictive than cocaine and contains a host of deadly chemicals. There are over 4,000 chemicals, 60 of which are known or suspected carcinogens and some of which have marked irritant properties."

Dr Buckland's list of the chemicals that can be found in cigarettes include:

  • Acetone as found in paint stripper
  • Arsenic as found in ant poison and causes cancer of the lung
  • Benzene causes cancer of the blood
  • Butane as found in lighter fluid
  • Cadmium as found in car batteries
  • Carbon monoxide as found in car exhaust fumes which decreases oxygen supply to tissues and increases atherogenesis (hardening of the arteries)
  • DDT as found in insecticide
  • Formaldehyde as found in embalming fluid
  • Hydrogen cyanide as found in capital punishment by gas
  • Methanol as found in rocket fuel
  • Napthalymine, which causes cancer of the bladder
  • Nicotine as found in cockroach poison, which causes blood vessels to constrict
  • Phenol as found in toilet bowl disinfectant (causes cancer of the bladder)
  • Propylene glycol as found in antifreeze
  • Toluene as found in industrial solvent
  • Vinyl chloride as found in plastics and causes cancer of the liver and brain.

When The Sunday Gleaner spoke to a few non-smokers who frequent clubs they were against having smoking being allowed throughout the club.

Omar stated, "Smoking should be banned! It is unhealthy and there are the much-debated effects of second-hand smoking. Moreover, for non-smokers, why should we have to 'tolerate' smokers' bad habits? It is just horrible for non-smokers, especially when you leave the club and go home and your clothes smell of smoke. Smoking at events is better suited for open venues, not in a club where it tends to be compact and too intimate of a space".

Sandra said, "I don't think smoking should be allowed in the general area because second-hand smoking is not healthy, especially in an enclosed area. That is why they should have a non-smoking section." Carlaadded, "I think they should have a separate area for smokers, so that if you don't want to you don't have to be exposed to the second-hand smoke".

- Names changed upon request

- Mel Cooke and Krista Henry