Tobacco, marijuana exactly the same when it comes to insurance premiums

published on May 22, 2016 in The Globe and Mail

Is eating a pot brownie each day to help with your chronic pain as bad for you as regularly lighting up a cigarette? Canadian life insurers say the two activities pose the same risk and demand the same higher premiums from clients.

M.J. Milloy, an infectious-disease epidemiologist studying marijuana’s therapeutic effects at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, said the available medical research proves that “it is inaccurate and inappropriate to put cannabis on the same rung” as smoking cigarettes, in terms of harm. Former prime minister Stephen Harper was castigated by medical researchers and addiction experts during last year’s federal election campaign when he declared pot was “infinitely worse” than tobacco.

“Tobacco use is going to be the prime risk factor in the death of something like 15,000 to 20,000 Canadians this year due to lung cancer,” Dr. Milloy said. “There is no good evidence to suggest that people who smoke cannabis have a raised risk of lung cancer or other respiratory or cardiovascular diseases than people who do not.

“Microscopically, pathophysiologically, it’s been shown that smoking cannabis does do things to your lungs, but there’s never been any link proven between that usage and lung or cardiovascular complications.”

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