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Discourages vaping, marijuana

To the editor:

I have read with interest the series in The Messenger on the impact of vaping. What reasonable person, young or old, would believe inhaling anything of a foreign nature into your lungs would not be a risk to your health? Like smoking cigarettes, the chance of contracting some respiratory illness is sure to increase with vaping. The Tuesday March 17 article on vaping contained a picture on page 1 and one on page 12 that provided evidence of vaping devices being made to look like pens or USB devices. Doing so is nothing more than an effort to disguise the devices to try to hide the illegal use by youth under the age of 21. I am encouraged that recent advertising spots have been directed at parents to identify such disguises as being devices used for vaping.

Vaping makes me think of another important issue. That issue is the effort to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, the increased use of which is sure to result in an increase in respiratory illnesses, among other problems. Many on the talk shows and some politicians argue the use of marijuana causes far fewer deaths and illnesses than the use of alcohol and some use that as an argument in favor of legalizing marijuana. That may be true today. But will a person be able to say the same in 15, 20, or 25 years if recreational use of marijuana becomes legal in most if not all the states in the future (and probably in the not too distant future). If that happens, the use of marijuana, because it could then be used openly and legally, will rise dramatically. When the use increases, the number of deaths caused by impaired drivers and the deaths or serious injuries from domestic assaults are likely to rise exponentially. Does that somehow make it better to simply replace alcohol related deaths with marijuana related deaths? And if there are more marijuana related deaths it may be too late to reverse the usage.

I find it rather ironic that our country has spent millions, perhaps billions, to reduce smoking after the Surgeon General issued a report in 1964 of the dangers of smoking. Our answer is to add marijuana and vaping to the mix.

Chuck Peterson

Fort Dodge

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