Pubdate: Sun, 28 May 2006
Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA)
Copyright: 2006 Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Author: Michael Ludwig


Regarding "Pot's low cancer risk a surprising finding" (Wednesday),
despite what scientists may think, apples simply are not oranges.

When comparing the effects of pot smoking with the effects of tobacco
smoking, it might be useful to note that the average tobacco smoker is
accustomed to lighting up a commercial filter cigarette usually 10 to
20 times a day. That cigarette does contain tobacco, but also includes
myriad other ingredients -- most are additives and few are likely to
be good for you when the smoke and fumes from burning them are
inhaled. Even the tobacco in that cigarette is not just tobacco, as it
has been grown on a commercial plantation where it has been fertilized
with super-phosphates and other commercial fertilizers and treated
with chemicals. Super-phosphates typically contain Radium 226, a
radioactive element. So, it seems highly likely that the average
tobacco smoker is inhaling numerous free radicals other than tar and
nicotine and a few radioactive particles, with every puff. Some of the
"radio daughters" of Radium 226 emit very harmful forms of radiation.

It is difficult to say for sure what types of fertilizers and
chemicals are used in growing marijuana, but it seems a safe bet they
tend to be fewer and safer than those used by the tobacco farmer.

However, pot carries an extreme danger tobacco smokers are not at risk
for: One puff, you're a criminal.

Michael Ludwig

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