Dear Annie: For many years, I have heard about the dangers of secondhand smoke. I am a nonsmoker, but was married to a smoker for 13 years and have asthma.
Now that pot is being legalized in some states, including where I live, what are the dangers of secondhand pot smoke? I haven’t heard a word about it. Are the states just looking for additional tax revenue and keeping it out of the news? – Concerned Breather in Oregon
Dear Breather: According to the American Lung Association, inhaling smoke is harmful whether it’s from cigarettes, pot or burning wood. Marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxins, irritants and carcinogens as tobacco smoke, and pot smokers generally inhale it for a longer period of time. Secondhand marijuana smoke contains the same ingredients.
How dangerous is it to nonsmokers? A 2014 study found that blood-vessel function in lab rats dropped by 70 percent after 30 minutes of exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke and hadn’t returned to normal even after 40 minutes. And the rats suffered the same effects even if the pot contained no THC. So, you might not get a “contact high,” but with continued exposure, you could suffer impaired lung and blood-vessel function.
Marijuana is much stronger today than it was 40 years ago. More studies need to be done, obviously, but if you are regularly exposed to smoke of any kind, you are likely to develop a problem. Steer clear.
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