Pubdate: Wed, 27 Aug 2014
Source: Chatham Daily News, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2014 Chatham Daily News
Author: Viki Gough
Page: A1


C-K medical officer of health speaks out on marijuana

Members of the Canadian Medical Association passed a motion earlier
this month at the organization's annual convention that smoking any
plant material is unhealthy.

Delegates were discussing the ramifications of Canada's new medical
marijuana law, which the CMA touted as putting "physicians in a
precarious situation."

Chatham-Kent's medical officer of health "totally agrees" with the
CMA's position on inhaling smoke from burning plant materials.

Dr. David Colby told QMI Agency a year ago that he believes marijuana
is a safe drug in that its narcotic-induced effect on users could be
considered as mild.

While he still holds that belief today, Colby said it's the vehicle
used to get the drug into one's body that concerns him.

"The smoke and particulate chemicals that enter the lungs certainly
are health hazards - no question about it," Colby told The Daily News

Those reasons caused the Municipality of Chatham-Kent to revise its
smoking bylaw earlier this month, he added.

Colby said the bylaw was designed with only tobacco smoke in

"No one is saying smoking marijuana is not hazardous to your health,
but most people make the presumption that's due to the active
ingredient in the marijuana that has psychological effects. We're
saying it's the vehicle of delivery, or smoking of it that's
disastrous," he said.

"Cannabis and shisha; you don't want people smoking that in
restaurants. We don't want to go back along that route," he said.

"It's smoke that is the problem," Colby added.

Asked what he thought about the growing use of electronic cigarettes,
Colby cited two concerns -- what's in them being vaporized, and those
designed to mimic cigarettes.

"We don't want to re-normalize smoking in our society," Colby

Candy cigarettes were banned to stop children mimicking smoking and
perhaps starting the habit when they became older.

Colby said he would like to see more data on the health effects of
electronic cigarettes before prohibiting that kind of activity.

"We don't have enough science information, in my opinion, to determine
if there's a health impact and if there are any benefits," Colby said.

According to medical officer of health, the American Heart Association
and the American Cancer Association have both recently stated if all
other smoking cessation methods have failed, the associations want
people to use e-cigarettes instead of combustibles.
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