1.22 billion people use tobacco, mostly from smoking cigarettes. One month prior to this survey it was estimated that 12 million people had used the illegal drug of Marijuana. The debate over whether or not to legalize Marijuana use has brought about fourteen states legalizing it for medical use. There are many other states debating this issue. So what are the facts? Which of these commonly used drugs are safer?
The most common known side effects of tobacco are those involving the heart and lungs. Smoking can cause heart attacks, COPD, and lung cancer. These are just a few of the physical conditions that can be produced from smoking. These diseases not only have an impact on the individual’s family but also the government. With the government insuring low income families or those in need, the cost to third parties can also be a side effect of smoking tobacco. Many of these costs are off sent by the increasing number of taxes placed on purchasing tobacco products. The active substances in cigarettes can heighten memory and alertness. The feeling of smoking is said to give off endorphins which are closely related to the feeling of pleasure in the human body. Learning to quit smoking can be a long process of many trials and errors
Marijuana can be used in many forms, but to more accurately compare it to tobacco we will be talking about it being smoked a rolled ‘cigar’ or in a pipe. Marijuana is currently illegal despite its popular use. In fourteen states across America it is legal for medical use only. Many Marijuana smokers can have similar lung side effects as smokers. A chronic coughs and heightens risk of lung infections are just two common side effects shared by both drugs. The correlation between lung cancer and Marijuana is still under study and has not been given a definite answer. However, the facts are that Marijuana gives the user “50-70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke.” These hydrocarbons are irritates to the lungs. Because Marijuana is currently illegal we can not give a good estimate on the cost this drug would for health care on both a personal and political aspect. Marijuana does increase the heart rate for up to three hours after consumption. The main chemical in Marijuana is called THC, and THC is known to affect the brain in many ways. This chemical makes it hard to concrete and memory loss is a common side effect. This chemical is also responsible for the ‘high’ experienced by smokers. Quitting Marijuana use is similar to the struggles faced while quitting tobacco. It is also a process of trial and error with many physical reminders of withdrawal.
These are the facts. In a side by side comparison it would seem that tobacco and Marijuana seem to have similar side effects. The acts of ceasing to use these drugs are similar. Are any of these really safer then the other? Perhaps if we have legalized one for so long, tobacco, reason would say why if we chosen to keep Marijuana illegal. The flip side of this debate would be why we are not making tobacco use illegal. I believe this debate will continue for sometime.