Bongs create more secondhand smoke than cigarettes, study finds

In a study that is sure to kill the buzz at many parties, researchers at UC Berkeley claim that bongs can create more secondhand smoke than tobacco cigarettes.

The study, published on the JAMA Network on Wednesday, found that smoking cannabis in a bong created concentrations of fine particles four times higher than concentrations seen after smoking a cigarette or hookah.

“The adverse health effects of particles in second-hand tobacco smoke are well established, and they provide a context in which we should see these findings,” said S. Katharine Hammond, professor of environmental health sciences at the UC Berkeley and study co-author. with graduate researcher Patton Khuu Nguyen.

Hammond said the study could help debunk misconceptions that second-hand cannabis smoke poses less risk than second-hand tobacco smoke.

“There’s a common misperception among at least young adults that secondhand cannabis smoke is safe, and this study shows that’s not true,” Hammond said.

According to the study, 27% of young adults believe second-hand exposure to cannabis smoke is harmless, but “cannabis smoke contains several hundred toxic, carcinogenic chemicals and fine particles, many at higher than tobacco smoke”.

Previous research has linked second-hand tobacco smoke to cancer, respiratory disease and premature birth, according to the study.

“These concerns did not translate to the consumption of cannabis bongs…where the smoke is drawn through water,” the study states.

In addition, particulate matter concentrations remained elevated long after smoking ceased.

The concern, Hammond said, is less for people who choose to smoke and more for others who may ingest the smoke unintentionally.

To carry out the study, the researchers measured the concentrations of particles in a house before, during and after bong sessions between 90 and 180 minutes with the doors and windows closed.

Hammond said a next step could be to try to link second-hand cannabis smoke to diseases and other illnesses linked to second-hand tobacco smoke, although Hammond acknowledged that such studies are “difficult to do and take a lot of time. time”.

“Establishing people’s history of exposure to second-hand smoke is complicated,” Hammond said. “I don’t think we should wait for that.”

Hammond said there is a wealth of information about the composition of second-hand cannabis smoke, which contains “many of the same carcinogens and other toxic chemicals found in second-hand tobacco smoke.”

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