Pubdate: Wed, 10 Aug 2005
Source: Mountain Xpress (NC)
Copyright: 2005 Mountain Xpress
Author: Bob Niewoehner
Bookmark: (ONDCP Media Campaign)


This spring, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy 
unleashed a new round of anti-marijuana newspaper ads aimed at parents. One 
of the most egregiously deceptive ads was headlined "Introducing a Really 
High-Tar Cigarette," and claimed, "Quite a few people think that smoking 
pot is less likely to cause cancer than a regular cigarette. You may even 
have heard some parents say they'd rather their kids smoked a little pot 
than get hooked on cigarettes. Wrong, and wrong again ... one joint can 
deliver four times as much cancer-causing tar as one cigarette" [emphasis 

Fact is, however, scientific studies -- many summarized in a 1999 Institute 
of Medicine report commissioned by ONDCP itself -- have never shown that 
marijuana causes lung cancer or the other cancers caused by cigarettes. 
It's appalling that the White House is actually telling parents not to 
worry about a drug -- tobacco -- that has been proven deadly and highly 

While kids should be discouraged from smoking anything, the data are 
crystal clear that tobacco is far more carcinogenic and far more addictive 
than marijuana. Prohibitionists' constant concern that reforming marijuana 
laws will somehow send the wrong message to children is particularly 
ironic, because ONDCP's ads tell children, in effect, that if they've 
already tried marijuana, cigarettes are no big deal because they have 
one-quarter the tar.

That's a message that could literally kill. For more information go to

- -- Bob Niewoehner

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