Surprising findings on lung cancer

January 29, 2008 2:33:48 PM PST
For years, health officials have warned of dangers of tobacco, but marijuana has largely been ignored.

A recent study shows marijuana may be a bigger lung cancer risk than cigarettes.

Doctors at the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand found a greater percentage of lung cancer patients to have been long-term pot smokers than cigarette smokers.

The study also found that 5 times as much carbon monoxide, and twice as many cancer-causing chemicals, go into the bloodstream of marijuana smokers.

The researchers estimate that smoking a joint is equivalent to 20 cigarettes, in terms of lung cancer risks, and that up to 1 in 20 lung cancers may be due to prolonged use of marijuana.

The New Zealand team says there could be a big surge in lung cancer cases as the Hippie Generation, some of whom have been smoking pot for nearly 40 years, reaches old age.

Scientists say so much research has been done on long-term tobacco use, but very little has been done on pot.