Toxic air pollutants from secondhand cannabis smoke are four times worse than those from cigarettes.
Although 27% of young adults believe exposure to cannabis smoke (SHCS) is safe, cannabis smoke contains several hundred toxic chemicals, carcinogens, and fine particles, many of which are in higher concentrations than tobacco smoke.
Despite the known risks of secondhand smoke from tobacco, there has been a lack of research focusing on the risks of exposure to secondhand smoke from social cannabis smoking.
However, a new paper was published on March 30, 2022, in the JAMA Network Open by authors Patton Khuu Nguyen, MPH, and Berkeley Professor of Public Health for Environmental Health Sciences S. Bong in-house. The research reveals that concentrations significantly exceed those in homes that smoke tobacco or shisha and dissolve very slowly, indicating that, contrary to popular belief, the smoking bong is not safe for those near them.
Nguyen, a graduate of the Berkeley School of Public Health, was selected as UC Berkeley's first Smoking and Tobacco Freedom Fellow in 2017. The research was conducted while he was a student at Berkeley University of Public Health.
According to the report, "SHCS can expose a nonsmoker's home to extremely high concentrations of fine particulates, ten times higher than the Bay Area's unhealthy bushfire smoke during the orange sky days in September 2020." Nguyen explains.
"Particles degrade so slowly that even 12 hours after you stop smoking cannabis, the average daily concentration still exceeds the daily US Environmental Protection Agency standard by six times." Exposure to fine particles above the suggested limits has been shown to cause premature death, strokes, decreased lung function, and increased deaths from lung cancer and heart disease.”
"The general public should be aware of the potential risks associated with marijuana second-hand smoke," Nguyen said. Smokers should understand how indoor smoking can affect others and potentially endanger children, pregnant women, the elderly, workers, and non-smokers. Public health policies should create smoke-free environments similar to smoke-free environments. "