Smoking tobacco has become so commonly widespread that few seriously take it as a problem. Along with alcohol, tobacco is tightly connected to modern lifestyle, and through media, marketing and advertising, occupies its place as a cultural phenomenon. We rarely refer to smoking as harmful addiction, but here is some statistics.
According to the American Heart Association, 23% of men between 21 and 60, and 19% of women between 25 and 65, are smokers. As per the CDC (Center for Disease Control) reports for recent years, an approximate total of 443,000 deaths occur every year in the U.S. alone from cigarette smoking - which is almost one in every five deaths. This appears to be more deaths than the combined total from HIV, cancer, road accidents, murder and suicide.
While it’s not easy to link certain death diagnostically to tobacco addiction, there is solid proof that smoking causes all sorts of lung and heart diseases, which affect and lead to complications for other organs of human body.
Despite the common misconception of marijuana being a highly addictive drug, nicotine contained in tobacco is in fact far more addictive than THC (cannabinoids) found in marijuana. Withdrawal from smoking may cause headaches, mood swings, agitation, sore throat, coughing, sleeping disorders and irresistible urges to smoke. Medical marijuana is not reported to have such negative side effects. Individuals with nicotine dependency develop a habit of smoking many cigarettes throughout the day - which further complicates quitting, because the person feels that a certain number of cigarettes ‘has to be smoked’. With medical marijuana, this is never an issue, because there is no smoking urge, and one does not feel they have to smoke the entire cigarette at a time, or a certain amount per day.
While treating tobacco addiction with medical marijuana may sound somewhat anecdotic, both are inhaled substances, with quite similar means of ingestion. Tobacco dependence is usually not as physical, as it is behavioral, a firm habit to stick a cigarette in mouth, light it up and inhale the smoke. Medical marijuana, used in right dosage, may act as fair substitute in terms of behavioral addiction. Furthermore, as it has been said, smoking medical marijuana instead of regular cigarettes would help battle the ‘daily amount’ dependency, and/or ‘psychological anchor’ dependency (smoking a cigarette is often linked to certain places or times of day, such as: having lunch, sitting in the car, being bored etc.).