Substance Use and Abuse

Critical Thinking Questions

The negative health consequences of both alcohol and tobacco products are well-documented. A drug like marijuana, on the other hand, is generally considered to be as safe, if not safer than these legal drugs. Why do you think marijuana use continues to be illegal in many parts of the United States?


One possibility involves the cultural acceptance and long history of alcohol and tobacco use in our society. No doubt, money comes into play as well. Growing tobacco and producing alcohol on a large scale is a well-regulated and taxed process. Given that marijuana is essentially a weed that requires little care to grow, it would be much more difficult to regulate its production. Recent events suggest that cultural attitudes regarding marijuana are changing, and it is quite likely that its illicit status will be adapted accordingly.

Why are programs designed to educate people about the dangers of using tobacco products just as important as developing tobacco cessation programs?


Given that currently available programs designed to help people quit using tobacco products are not necessarily effective in the long term, programs designed to prevent people from using these products in the first place may be the best hope for dealing with the enormous public health concerns associated with tobacco use.