Despite the controversy surrounding marijuana not being FDA approved, medical experts insist there is increasing evidence to suggest that smoking marijuana is less of a detriment to public health than cigarettes.
National health data shows that cigarettes have many dangerous chemicals, including 43 carcinogens that have been proven to contribute to addiction and cause cancer. In addition, cigarettes contain formaldehyde: a highly toxic chemical used to embalm corpses.
With that said, it should come as no surprise that cigarettes are responsible for killing nearly 480,000 Americans every year, according to the latest statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. These deaths are caused by a cornucopia of diseases, ranging from lung cancer to heart disease, that often torture smokers right down to the bitter end. Incidentally, the annual death rate brought on by cigarettes represents more fatalities than the combined death toll of World War I and World War II.
A dissection of this data reveals that even innocent bystanders are suffering from cigarettes, with a whopping 42,000 deaths a year caused by second-hand smoke. Yet, cigarettes have garnered the approval and support of the FDA and are sold by the metric ass ton — 293 billion cigarettes — all over the world.
These statistics provide some interesting insight into the hypocrisy that is the federal government. Earlier this month, the White House issued a response to The New York Times piece “Repeal Prohibition, Again,” which indicated that the Obama Administration has no intention of legalizing marijuana due to concerns over public health.
“The Obama Administration continues to oppose legalization of marijuana and other illegal drugs because it flies in the face of a public health approach to reducing drug use and its consequences. Our approach is founded on the understanding of addiction as a disease that can be successfully prevented and treated, and from which people can recover,” reads a statement issued by the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
However, unlike cigarettes, marijuana continues to gain legal status in states all across the nation for medicinal purposes. The herb has been successful in treating a myriad of debilitating conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, and pain. And although a few insignificant studies do exist (with sample sizes of 20 users) that suggest marijuana has negative health effects, none of this subjective data tells a tale as horrifying as the true health crisis caused by cigarettes.