The effects of secondhand tobacco smoke on children and adults has been studied and well characterized. The recent efforts to have marijuana legalized in the U.S. has triggered more active research into the effects of this drug on individuals and those around them. Recent research has focused on the effects secondhand marijuana smoke may have on children. We already know that adults smoking cannabis have an increased incidence of chronic bronchitis, lung hyperinflation, and increased central airway obstruction, but what about children exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke?

It has been has been quoted that “If kids are exposed to enough secondhand smoke, regardless of what substance it is, they are going to have some negative health outcomes with it” says Dr. Adam Johnston, MD of Wake Forest University.

Studies have now shown that children exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke have increased emergency room visits, as do children exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke. The real news is researchers have seen a 30% increase in respiratory viral infections in children exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke. This observation suggests that components in marijuana smoke may depress the body’s immune responses to viral infections in children. Other findings suggested that secondhand marijuana smoke was associated with more ear infections and asthma attacks, although this data was not as definitive.

The push to legalize marijuana is not a medical decision. It is more a political and financial one. There are consequences to the use of this drug, not only to you, but to those around you.