Smoked out: Secondhand pot smoke raises concerns

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smokeSEATTLE — Even for those who aren’t marijuana smokers, it may become increasingly hard to escape the lingering smoke.

Second hand smoke from cigarettes causes an estimated 50,000 deaths per year, the American Lung Association reported. And according to some, pesky secondhand smoke from a marijuana pipe is harmful, too.

The American Lung Association asserts that marijuana smoke contains a greater amount of carcinogens than tobacco smoke. Carrie Nyssen is with the American Lung association. She said because marijuana is not legal federally, not enough research has been done to determine the negative affects of breathing in the smoke secondhand.

“We are getting lots of inquiries from people about the drift from marijuana smoke and what it is doing to them and their children,” Nyssen said. “We just don’t know the damage marijuana smoke can do to our lungs.”

Dr. Leslie Walker of the Seattle Children’s Hospital said there is no case were inhaling smoke would be a good thing. Especially for young children.

“There is no scenario where inhaling smoke would be a good thing for a growing child regardless of what is being smoke,” Walker wrote.

Those that don’t smoke pot but live with someone who does know all too well the realities of second-hand smoke. And many who don’t smoke simply don’t appreciate the smell.

“It smells like pot and it can be embarrassing when your friends come over and your entire apartment smells like pot,” Amy Paxton said. “I think there should be rules enforced when it comes to smoking in your apartment.”


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  • Guest

    oh boy here we go with the 'cry wolf' crowd. These people are exposed daily to a hell of a lot more dangerous chemicals in items they use everyday then by a few microns of smoke. Sick of these alarmists crying the 'sky is falling'. Grow up and get educated. Especially the lame reporter who actually Believes this an issue.

  • Jcr

    I can't believe how stupid people are that this would pass. I am so sick of these new laws, with gay marriage and pot smoking divorce rates will go sky high pastors and persists going to hell for oking this, and now we have to worry about contact highs when we go to town.
    I pray that all these people who voted for gays and pot come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and how He does not approve either one, but then again if those pastors and persists read the whole bible word for word then they would see how God hates same sex marriage.

    • Megan

      Grow the fuck up! Gays are NOT hurting anyone. NOWHERE in the bible does it say anything like that about gay marriage isn't right. If you don't like it, then move out of state. I'm sure we will be a whole lot happier without your negativity anyway

    • LOL

      Lol go bible thump somewhere else. Maybe you should stop being ignorant and realize there is no God. Get over it. Believe in science, logic, and reason. Except that's probably too hard for your brain to comprehend so you just take the easy way and believe some magical fairy tale place in the sky.

    • Tom

      You're a sad, scared, confused person – I hope you see the light in accepting the Flying Spaghetti Monster into your heart (and mouth) and let him bless you with his noodly appendages. R'amen.

    • Keary

      In response to your " divorce rates will go sky high" People who are not gay divorce on an average of 3 times how is getting married when you are the same sex gonna do any more harm? Most same sex relationships have been together longer than most marriages last why is it that they should not get the same respect for they're relationship? I feel bad for your closed mind If it doesn't effect you why the hell would you be so disrespectful? Another Who wrote the bible? We all know it was not God so who is to say that God would't approve? God might hate those who judge others, Ever thought of that? Why don't we let him do the judging and learn to accept what doesn't affect you.

    • K Miller

      Clearly you do not read the Bible or the words of your savior. I would direct to you Matthew 6: 14-15 and 7:1-5. Perhaps if you were a REAL christian and not some ignorant Bible thumping ass, you would know this stuff and not have it pointed out to you by a random, ultra-liberal, pot-smoking, gay-loving, lesbian sex having and yet CLEARLY more well read woman from the inter webs.

      And, really, isn't it kinda hard for the divorce rate, made up entirely of straight couples, to go any higher than it already is? Also, God says that all the plants on Earth are for humans to use [Genesis 1:29]. Is cannabis not a plant now?

      There is nothing worse than an uneducated Christian.

    • KMW

      Wow, you really are an idiot. Who told you "God" hates same sex marriage? Was it "God"? Because where I come from, we call you crazy when you talk to ghosts. Holy or not.

    • Allen

      Uh, no. YOU ARE WRONG! I am for compassionate use and I believe just a strongly that He (Christ) does. But in your pompous self-righteousness you would never consider that, unless of course maybe you had to dealt with any kind of debilitating chronic pain. For the the record, I was on Rx pain meds as strong as they come; Norco/Hydrocodone. I sought The Lord through it all, from begining to end. My prayer was… God, please heal me and make me new, “do a new thing in me”. For three years I sought Him through it all.

      Well, this past Superbowl, I awoke with an extra bit of strength that I didn’t have. (prior I was up to as many as 4-5 X day for moderate to severe pain. On a scale of 1-10, I hovered around 8 to 10 avg.) Well, I went with that Spirit and quit cold turkey. It was nasty for a whole week but it was nothing other than God. And guess what the help was to wean me off?? POT POT and More POT. With God’s blessings. Today I am pot free and med free if I so choose to be. Although some occassional residual pain. But fact is, The Lord did all of this as my concern over a 3 year use of Norco began to come front and center; as to the future effects on my 56 year old body. So please take that fear-monging crap about God’s medicinal medicine outta here. Next…

      • Allen

        Oh, and now they are going to crack down on Hydrocodone Norco use. So what does that suggest about my case??? God knew that, and led me on the path to deliverance with the help OF POT!!!

  • Karl

    Seriously… "not enough research has been done to determine the negative affects of breathing in the smoke secondhand"

    That means the same thing that it meant when they asked if Marijuana was dangerous.

    THEY DO NOY KNOW! Yet they sit there and make broad statements on the hazards of smoking marijuana, when they have no answers to give, now they are making the same class statements on second hand smoke, where again they have no basis for their answers.

    They need to shut up, do some real research and come back with some real answers.

    People have been smoking pot in the U.S. for well over 60 years… why don't they ask them and stop with the scare tactics to support the governments failures.

  • thug_life

    Don’t come in here and throw Jesus at s, this country was built by the people for the goddamn people. And the people approved same sex marriage, and weed. Respect that.

  • thug_life

    Ps. u cant say a damn thing about divorce rates going up, because straight couples are divorcing like crazy, with total disregard for the statistics. you’re arguement is irrelevant.

  • Lonnilane

    Smoking marijuana is a cause of psychosis later in life. That is scientific fact. Second and third hand smoke is unhealthy, and I should have a say in what I am exposed to when it is possible. As an ex smoker, I realize how selfish it is to expose others to unwanted and smelly smoke. Do you want someone who is high driving with your small children? Driving period?

    • KMW

      You are stupid. What does any of this have to do with driving with your children in the car? I have been smoking for almost 20 years. I am a home owner, a business woman, a tax payer, and a mother. I am neither selfish nor ignorant. I voted for same sex marriage and pot legalization, and I would do it again. I am not a "doper" (which, by the way, how old are you? No one says doper). Calling pot a drug just makes you a lemming…

    • freddyboy

      "Smoking marijuana is a cause of psychosis later in life. That is scientific fact."

      Says who? What scientific study or journal article can you cite to make this claim?

  • annonmous

    I am amazed at how many arrogent comments I am reading. While I am for smoking pot I find offense when I am on the bus with my one year old and have to sit next to someone who reeks of pot & are assholes when people complain. Fyi many people are allergic to weed and can have severe allergic reactions just by smelling the stuff. My fiance feels like he is going to have a heart attack whenever he has any contact with the stuff. I could care less if you smoke in the privacy of your homes but to expose those who don’t want to have any contact is just plain rude. Like I said before I am for smoking it just not in public and not around those who disagree with the lifestyle. Also fyi I too smoke on occasions.

    • guest

      we feel the same about people who smoke nasty ciggs but yet its ok for them to reak of the smoke wherever they go id rather smell weed than nasty tobacco

  • Jenni

    Ok i for one voted for both same sex marriage so me and my gf can marry and have all the same rights as straight cpls. God does not hate any one. He loves all of his children as we are all his creation. So go take your bible and read it again and again. However god does not like those who judge others. Since you obviously live in a glass house hide all the stones and rocks from yourself and others. On the the issue at hand. Do you know all the polutants that are in the very air we breath????? Alot more harmful then a little weed. I myself do not smoke out in public because it is rude to others. I have a child so i also do not smoke in my home or while she is awake. I step outside my back porch close my door so the smell doesnt go into my home. I also wont drive when im high because i dont feel safe doing so just like i also dont drink and drive. Also god planted weed on this earth for us to enjoy. So dear bible thumpers go smoke some weed get off your pedastool and just enjoy life and love everyone because god created us all equal.

  • Erick b. holder

    What a poorly written and researched article. Hana Kim is one lousy journalist. Have you ever heard of researching your article? First, marijuana smoke does not have the carcinogens that cigarettes do because tobacco is fertilized with radioactive materials in their fertilizers. In addition, it has proven that marijuana relieves asthma when smoked and it shrinks cancerous rumors.

    Iffy is article is pure propaganda

    • old smoker

      That is the goofiest statements I've read so far. Is radioactive fertilizer one of those big corporate conspiracies? Every statement you made is about like the old common knowledge that it wasn't cigarettes that cause cancer, it was from matches and the chemicals in lighters. I smoked weed for thirty years, and if you believe it helps asthma, go fire one up in a room with someone who suffers from asthma. I've seen it happen, and she got no damn relief from it all and the attack began only after her goofy ass boy friend decided to smoke up. I don't care who smokes weed, cigarettes, crack, crank, crap, or the bed sheets. It's their own business but don't try to convince anyone that breathing anything but air is not harmful at some level. If someone doesn't want to be around the smoke, then take it to your place and smoke up, but don't give me street science to justify your habit.

  • Joe

    I like the way it smells, and tastes, and the effect. The people have spoken and prohibition is over at last. Leave the gays alone, they dont hurt anyone, no more than a straight person would, im not religious so I dont care what the bible that so many different people wrote, thinking god was talking to them. Maybe they were mentally ill hearing voices and such? Nobody will ever know will they? Anyways, im stoned, and this pizza smells bomb.

  • Jeff

    More people trying to make rules to govern other peoples lives. If you dont like it move. What happened to the ideals this country was founded on? It's supposed to be the land of the free. Our forethathers wanted less government, not one that is involved in every aspect of our lives.

  • supergregslist

    One thing journalists do consistently is get everything wrong.

    No studies of heavy pot smokers have shown a cancer risk. Cigarette smokers who also smoke weed get cancer less than pure cigarette smokers. Weed is currently being researched for anti-cancer properties but scientists are a bit hamstrung by cause of its legal status.

    Weed smoke will irritate your lungs though, so I use a vaporizer.

  • Taekov Yahoser

    SHS has never been documented to kill ONE person. Let alone 50,000. Don't believe me? Write to the National Cancer Institute and ask THEM. One name. They can't do it.

    Ask yourself: If 50,000 die annually, don't you think you, or someone you know or someone they know what have known SOMEONE that has died from it?

  • S Davis

    I have been active in supporting a ban on second-hand smoke (SHS) in homes for several years now. Not only is it obnoxious to many innocent bystanders, but SHS tobacco smoke is proven to have several hundred dangerous toxins in it. Why would smoke from pot be any different? It is SHS no matter how you look at it. Smoke from a wood-burning fire is toxic. Smoke from a gas fire is toxic. Smoke from any source is still smoke.

    All smoke is toxic. Period. At the very least it's an irritant to the lungs. Pot smoke is also an irritant to the brain. Children–and any innocent others–should not be forced to inhale something that they don't want to, especially something that is dangerous to their own health. Don't give me the argument that there are more dangerous toxins in the environment. SHS is something easily avoided.

    Constitutionally, nobody in this country has the right to do anything they want in their living space. Their "right" ends where someone else's nose begins. That applies to any situation. A person who later occupies the living quarters has the right to a safe home, too. It is nearly impossible to totally get rid of smoke that is scientifically shown to remain on surfaces for many years despite thorough cleaning–and painting.

    I voted to pass the legalization of marijuana. But I didn't vote to be forced to be exposed to it. Yes, you can use it, but you don't have to smoke it to use it.

  • S Davis

    To add an additional comment, the FDA, Surgeon General's office, and others do not keep names of those who died from SHS. There are, however, statistics that show and generally prove in aggregate the rates of disease and death that result from exposure to SHS. They show the increased rates of healthcare claims from those whose only difference from others is their own smoking. They find post-mortem differences in the function of the lungs of those who have been smokers and those who have been exposed to SHS. The Surgeon General's study of the scientific evidence of the adverse health effects of SHS is indisputable, according to their report. It's hard to beat "indisputable".

    Scientifically, exposure to third-hand smoke is also dangerous. Third-hand smoke is that left on clothing and other surfaces after exposure to SHS. That is why pediatricians (including my daughter) recommend that infants not touch surfaces with third-hand smoke–which includes those of grandparents who have not taken showers or laundered their clothes after smoking.

    Look the research up.

  • Dawn

    This is bullshit… You all want to know the TRUTH… The Federal Government KNOWS that Marijuana CURES CANCER. This is the truth!!! Not only does it not contain any harmful carcinogens, it actually helps speed up cell death in the body, so that the cells do not have the ability to become malignent and therefore– Cancer cannot form. Nor can it spread, which is precisely why cannabis oil is the only thing that sends final stage, near death, cancer patients into remission. The reason WHY the government does't want people to know this and still wants people to fear that marijuana is some kind of bad drug is because the medical industry will collapse without cancer. The government makes billions off of people dying from cancer… And that is the ONLY reason the federal government hates marijuana. They are terrified of all of us figuring this out. And we here in WA are the closest yet.

    • Allen

      Sue, I do. And now I also see that this article is over 2 years old! lololol. No I’m not smoking it now.ha. But really, I tried it in brownies once. I could not get off the crapper. Maybe that was just that but I’ll stick to my joint or pipe for now. Actually, I’m on sabatical leave. Yes I do it like that.

  • Jack Smith

    I could care less if you smoke in the privacy of your homes but to expose those who don't want to have any contact is just plain rude. Like I said before I am for smoking it just not in public

  • Fox is a Liar

    Release your source of information please. This is undoubtedly false. Here we go again with news and politics trying to control marijuana laws so their oil, lumber or clothing industries don't get beat out over hemp.

  • marbee

    If's funny, I asked the state of Wisconsin for PROOF of the "50,000" deaths. They had NO proof, just a brochure that said so. Aha, so that's where those numbers come from! There IS no proof! Perhaps the cigarette companies should put out a brochure that exposes the lies of the anti-smoking brigade, at least it might give We The People a little more power to fight for our rights, you know, like once protected Constitutional private property rights.

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