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Smoking pot vs. tobacco: What science says about lighting up

Posted at 9:55 AM, Apr 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-07 10:01:56-04

NEW YORK (AP) — As more states make it legal to smoke marijuana, some officials, researchers and others worry what that might mean for one of the country's biggest public health successes: curbing cigarette smoking.

The juxtaposition strikes some as jarring after generations of Americans have gotten the message that smoking endangers their health.

Meanwhile, marijuana advocates say there's no comparison between joints and cigarettes.

There are differences in health research findings about tobacco and marijuana. For one: A sweeping federal assessment of marijuana research found the lung-health risks of smoking weed appear "relatively small" and "far lower than those of smoking tobacco." Cigarette smoking is the top cause of preventable death in the U.S.

But while smoking cannabis may be less dangerous than tobacco for lung health, pot doesn't get an entirely clean slate.