Myth 4 – Marijuana is less Harmful than Tobacco
Incorrect! While many people believe that marijuana is a benign herb, marijuana actually contains many of the same cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco products.
Puff for puff, the tar and carbon monoxide inhaled in marijuana is actually 3 to 5 times greater than tobacco products! Therefore, people who smoke marijuana have the same or worse health problems as tobacco users. For example, marijuana smokers subject themselves to breathing, coughing, wheezing, obstructed airways, damage to their respiratory system, and eventually black lungs, cancer, and death. Just to put this in perspective, let’s take a look at some of the numbers associated with tobacco.
Tobacco is the second major cause of death in the world. About 1/10 adults die (approximately 6 million people) worldwide each year from tobacco. If current tobacco smoking patterns continue, it will cause around 10 million deaths each year by 2020. In other words, half of the people who smoke tobacco today (about 650 million) will eventually be killed by tobacco if they don’t stop. So, marijuana users face at least the same outcome as tobacco users, if not a worse one.
Myth 5 – Marijuana Makes You Less Aggressive
Wrong! Many people believe that marijuana makes you mellow. However, studies have shown that marijuana users are more likely to engage in aggressive behavior than non-marijuana smokers. In other words, the more a person smokes marijuana, the more likely that person will engage in other criminal activities such as stealing, destroying property, fighting others, committing weapons offenses, and engaging in other aggressive behavior.
So, while marijuana smokers do get the munchies, they also are more unstable and more likely to engage in other criminal activities than non-drug users.
Myth 6 – Parents Cannot Influence Their Kids from Refraining to Use Marijuana
Study, after study, after study, shows that parents – and parents alone – have the most powerful influence on their kids’ use of drugs. Studies have shown that parents who lead by example and refrain from using illegal drugs will have a better chance in raising kids who also are drug free.
A study conducted by the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse found that marijuana abuse was lower among teens whose parents strongly disapproved of drug abuse. So, parent’s attitudes and actions generally have a direct impact on how their kids will act.
Above all, parents need to stay involved with their kids. Parents need to set rules with clear consequences for their children. Parents must know where their kids are, who they’re hanging out with, and appropriately discipline their kids when they abuse drugs.
In contrast, parents that abuse drugs tend to raise kids who also abuse drugs. The old adage – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – holds true. Bottom line: Parents need to take responsibility for their children, set positive examples, and instill discipline.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Evidence shows – over and over again – that the hours between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. are the riskiest time for youth and drug abuse. Why? Because most kids are unsupervised at this time. Kids are released from school and parents tend to still be working during these hours. That’s when many kids often get into trouble or try a drug for the first time. So, parents must know where their kids are between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., especially on school days.
Next, we take a look at myths 7 – 9.