The Alarming Issue of Secondhand Pot Smoke


Until several months ago I was unaware of this looming problem that will affect the lives of the chemically sensitive in ways that will make their already difficult situation far worse. While this blog is primarily focused upon the issue of fragrance-free workplaces, the need for a place to live that doesn’t make one sick is even more important than the need for a workplace that doesn’t cause health problems.

Because of the great importance of this issue, the Chemical Sensitivity Foundation will be using almost all of our available funds to send out mailings to all members of key state legislatures. See my March 25 blog on this subject titled “Educating State Legislators About Fragrance-Free Policies,” where you will see the letter that I sent to members of the California Senate and Assembly. All future letters to state legislatures will emphasize both the fragrance-free workplaces issue and the secondhand pot smoke issue.

Each of these mailings costs the Chemical Sensitivity Foundation about a dollar per member, so a mailing to all members of a state legislature will run between $150 and $400. The CSF has less than $3,000 in its bank account, so please visit our website and make a donation—even a few dollars will help—so that I can keep sending out these mailings. Each envelope contains a cover letter and ten of the fragrance-free workplaces cards so that all the various staff members working in that office can receive one of these cards that provides the websites where they can watch my video “Fragrance-Free Workplaces: Wave of the Future?” and also order more cards.

If someone wants to insure that their own state is covered, if they donate at least $0.50 for each member of the state legislature, we will cover that particular state.

As I work on this issue of pot smoke, it would be very useful to me if any of you who have personally experienced problems with neighbors smoking pot would email me a description of your experience. Please indicate whether I have your permission to use what you say in a future blog, using a pseudonym instead of your name.

I’ve listed below the URLs for various important articles about the issue of secondhand pot smoke, which is currently causing extensive legal battles involving condo and apartment associations.

Here is an article by a Boston-area lawyer titled “Secondhand Smoke and Your Condominium: How to Navigate the Changing Legal Landscape.”

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On March 19, 2018, the Boston Globe published an article with the title “In Boston-area condos and apartments, the smell of pot pits neighbor against neighbor.”

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NPR weighed in on this issue in the following recent program:

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The American Lung Association has an article titled “Marijuana and Lung Health” that can be reached through the following URL:

Here are some excerpts from that article:

Smoke is harmful to lung health. Whether from burning wood, tobacco or marijuana, toxins and carcinogens are released from the combustion of materials. Smoke from marijuana combustion has been shown to contain many of the same toxins, irritants and carcinogens as tobacco smoke.

Beyond just what’s in the smoke alone, marijuana is typically smoked differently than tobacco. Marijuana smokers tend to inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than cigarette smokers, which leads to a greater exposure per breath to tar.

Secondhand marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxins and carcinogens found in directly inhaled marijuana smoke, in similar amounts if not more. While there is no data on the health consequences of breathing secondhand marijuana smoke, there is concern that it could cause harmful health effects, especially among vulnerable children in the home. Additional research on the health effects of secondhand marijuana smoke is needed.

Smoking marijuana clearly damages the human lung. Research shows that smoking marijuana causes chronic bronchitis and marijuana smoke has been shown to injure the cell linings of the large airways, which could explain why smoking marijuana leads to symptoms such as chronic cough, phlegm production, wheeze and acute bronchitis.