Tobacco-Related Health Costs: $800; Booze-Related Health Costs: $165; Pot-Related Health Costs: $20 — Any Questions?

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director November 17, 2009

    [Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from this week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s media advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up for NORML’s free e-zine here.]

    Health-related costs per user are eight times higher for drinkers than they are for those who use cannabis, and are more than 40 times higher for tobacco smokers, according to a report published in the British Columbia Mental Health and Addictions Journal.

    According to the report, “In terms of [health-related] costs per user: tobacco-related health costs are over $800 per user, alcohol-related health costs are much lower at $165 per user, and cannabis-related health costs are the lowest at $20 per user.”

    The review, authored by researchers from the Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia at the University of Victoria and the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse at the University of Ottawa, stated: “Alcohol is used by a very large number of people with the vast majority of these using in low- or moderate-risk ways. Conversely, cannabis and tobacco are used by far fewer people. The majority of cannabis use is low- and moderate-risk, however, while the majority of tobacco is high-risk.”

    The study reported that social costs applicable to marijuana are primarily “enforcement-related.”

    The authors concluded: “The harms, risks and social costs of alcohol, cannabis and tobacco vary greatly. A lot has to do with how the substances are handled legally. Alcohol and tobacco are legal substances, which explains their low enforcement costs relative to cannabis. On the other hand, the health costs per user of tobacco and alcohol are much higher than for cannabis. This may indicate that cannabis use involves fewer health risks than alcohol or tobacco.

    “These variations in risk, harms and cost need to be taken into account as we think about further efforts to deal with the use of these three substances. … Efforts to reduce social costs related to cannabis, for example, will likely involve shifting its legal status by decriminalizing casual use, to reduce the high enforcement costs. Such a shift may be warranted given the apparent lower health risk associated with most cannabis use.”

    According to a recent Rasmussen national poll of 1,000 likely voters, Americans believe by more than two to one that alcohol is “more dangerous” than marijuana.

    75 Responses to “Tobacco-Related Health Costs: $800; Booze-Related Health Costs: $165; Pot-Related Health Costs: $20 — Any Questions?”

    1. […] the original post:  Tobacco-Related Health Costs: $800; Booze-Related Health Costs: $165; Pot-Related Health Costs: $20 … Share and […]

    2. moldy says:

      “This may indicate that cannabis use involves fewer health risks than alcohol or tobacco.”

      Well no shit Sherlocks! …”this may indicate” [head pounding on brick wall]

      Can’t they just f==king admit it openly without the tap dance?

      Okay, good report for our cause but JFC!

    3. Patricia says:

      I knew it would be the bean counters who would bring the world back to reality.

      It was the bean counters back in the 16th century who led society in accepting the Copernican model of the solar system, where the earth revolves around the sun, instead of the other way around, as was asserted by the Church.

      Galileo was given a life sentence of house arrest and nearly given the death penalty because he challenged the Church on this issue.

      But you know the old saying: money talks and BS walks. This was how Galileo won the war even while he lost his own personal battle.

      The European economy at the time was heavily dependent on shipping. It mattered a great deal to these people whether their tide tables were accurate. The tide tables computed using the Copernican system proved themselves to be far more accurate than the tide tables produced using the Church-favored geocentric picture of the universe.

      So the European business community came to disregard Christian geocentric cosmology as bad for business and embraced the new scientific model of the universe proposed by Copernicus and poor Galileo.

      It’s going to be the same in our movement. Prohibitionist propaganda has been able to dominate the media, but it doesn’t have the power to alter economic reality.

      The bean counters measure economic reality, which cannot be disconnected from physical reality.

    4. fired up says:

      Ok….this is getting stupid. I mean, it’s always been stupid, but keeping marijuana illegal now tops the charts as the all-time dumbest move ever.

    5. MatterofLiberty says:

      Arent Alchohol & Tobacco both by definition Schedual I drugs?? Meaning they have no medically accepted value with a high risk for abuse.(Even though the Controlled Substances Act doesnt even define “Abuse”)

    6. randy nc says:

      Chalk another one up for our side! Sadlt though those in opposition will either ignore this (as with all the other positive research) or claim that it comes from flawed or misconstrued data. It’s really hard to get past generations of brain-washing but that is what we are up against. Plus the fact that our politicians are usually more interested in getting re-elected than doing the next right thing. Even the ones who claim to believe the truth have “more important issues to deal with” to have their reputations tarnished over this nobel cause. While I still maintain hope that this injustice will someday be righted I really don’t believe I personally will be able to legally burn for the pleasure of it here in the good ole US of A in my lifetime. I hope to be proven wrong but I think we all know that I only hold my breath for one thing.;)

    7. Tony says:

      It’s just such a shame that everyone knows these facts. The people who make the rules know them, but they just don’t want to acknowledge it as truth. Like everyone else, it still amazes me when politicians and even health care specialists stare these facts in the face and deny them.

    8. Mark Anthony says:

      Now this story is a perfect example of what we can take to lawmakers to fight for cannabis reform. It illustrates just how harmless cannabis is and makes a good case for personal use reform and health care reform.

      With this info and the announcement by the AMA calling for the reclassification of cannabis, it time to start pushing the lawmakers for action in this matter. Many of you send emails, I ask you now to take a moment and make a phone call to them.

    9. …………and Pharmacies like ” Longs Drugs ” ( now called CVS ) in California sell & even push alcoholic beverages and why other Drug stores sell cigarettes . = So you’ll need prescription medications or drugs . These Pharmacies make lots of money off of Pharamaceuticals compared to what little they make from selling Alcoholic beverages or cigarettes .

      In , Eureka , California there is a Pharmacy
      called ” Cloney’s ” and directly behind the main counter they sell a Drug testing Kit ( or at least they used to ) specifically designed & used for the testing of marijuana . You’ll find most drug stores sell Drug testing Kits that they invented to deceive everyone .They do this so you’ll take hard drugs such as alcoholic beverages & cigarettes instead of you using cannabis . They cannot make money if you use cannabis because it is not a damaging drug .

      ” and Satan the Great Devil has deceived the whole World ”

      ……………After some thought & consideration it is not fair to boycott KGO Radio because of what one talk show host
      ( Gene Burns – who hides from the truth ) does since most people there undoubtedly support the use of marijuana . This Radio station reaches small Towns in Alaska all the way down to the deserts in
      Mexico . However , that doesn’t mean we can’t stop the Drug pusher , Gene Burns from pushing alcohol so , your calls to him and KGO Radio are still encouraged . Please be nice , courteous and Polite when speaking to anyone there never making threats or doing any name calling .Your support is needed & encouraged .

      We will win by telling the TRUTH .

      The Truth Doctor

    10. Eric says:

      “Enforcement related”… I for one am sick of responsible, hard-working people being made to look like criminals and having their careers ruined for choosing a safer alternative to unwind from a hard days work, or medicating how they choose.

      It makes me sad to think how the people we choose to represent us consistently ignore these types of reports, and insist against popular opinion that marijuana is a dangerous drug. How are we supposed to trust them with our economic and political futures, when we are lied to about something that is so obvious.

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