You are here

The Double Standard for Nicotine and Cannabis

Op-Eds and Articles

The U.S. House of Representatives may soon vote on a historic measure to end federal prohibition on cannabis.

Ironically, just as the public and political leaders realize the folly of prohibiting cannabis, we are rushing toward a new prohibition with many of the same pitfalls.

Prohibiting nicotine vapor is unjustified by all the science so far, which shows health risks are low. Worse, prohibition would prove tragic for smokers, who will be deterred from quitting their deadly habit.

When e-cigarettes entered the U.S. market in 2007, opponents argued there was limited evidence about product hazards. That implied opponents would relent if and when scientific evidence could establish e-cigarettes’ relative safety. Yet, as evidence mounted, incontrovertibly proving vaporized nicotine was much safer than smoking, efforts to prohibit vaping have only amplified.

It should have been good news when research literature established nicotine vaping as a more effective for smoking cessation than traditional nicotine replacement therapies. It should have been good news that e-cigarettes didn’t prove a “gateway” for youth smoking that, in fact, youth smoking is at an all-time low.

And it should have been good news that research failed to link nicotine vaping with significant negative health outcomes, even for those who never smoked. Smokers who switch to vaping actually show rapid improvements in heart and lung health and reduced risk of smoking-related cancers.

Thus, converting smokers to vapers could save millions of lives.

But for opponents of e-cigarettes, this evidence isn’t enough. They demand proof that e-cigarettes are 100 percent harmless, an impossible benchmark for any product.

The evidence on cannabis is not conclusive, either. For example, there is limited data on how THC impacts cardiovascular health or how cannabis use in adolescence affects future development.

Read the full article at Inside Sources.