Don't bring smoking back into Anchorage workplaces.
Vote no on Prop 11 and be sure to mail or turn in your ballot in at a secure ballot drop box by Tuesday, April 7. A list of ballot drop box locations can be found here.
What Prop 11 Does
Prop 11 brings smoking back inside workplaces. This measure weakens Anchorage's smoke-free workplaces law, creating an exemption for smoking inside marijuana shops.
Anchorage residents have been protected from secondhand smoke since voters upheld the law in 2007 by a whopping 72%.
Here's why it's a problem:
Smoking in marijuana shops threatens health in our workplaces and safety on our roads.
Smoke is Smoke
- Marijuana smoke contains the same fine particulate matter found in tobacco smoke that can cause heart attacks.
- Marijuana smoke contains many of the cancer-causing substances found in tobacco smoke.
Research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (2016) is titled with its conclusion: One Minute of Marijuana Secondhand Smoke Exposure Substantially Impairs Vascular Endothelial Function. That means that even brief exposure to marijuana smoke starts damaging blood vessel linings, endothelium, just the same as exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.
The surprising part of this study is that the impaired blood vessel lining effect lasted at least 90 minutes after marijuana smoke exposure, compared to complete recovery in 30 minutes after tobacco smoke exposure. The authors conclude that, “marijuana SHS [secondhand smoke] exposure may cause more cardiovascular harm than tobacco SHS.” (Wang, et al., 2016, p. 10)
Ventilation Doesn’t Work
The ballot language says the smoking area will be ventilated, but we know that won’t get rid of the serious health risks.
Secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard. Ventilation technologies do not sufficiently protect individuals from the harmful effects of breathing in secondhand smoke.
Reports from two different U.S. Surgeons General have found that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. While ventilation or air purification systems are sometimes promoted as a way to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, ventilation cannot remove all secondhand smoke and does not purify the air at rates fast enough to protect people from harmful toxins.
The Surgeon General has concluded that even separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposure of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke. The only effective way to fully protect nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke is to completely eliminate smoking in indoor public spaces.
Another Challenge: Impaired Driving
Marijuana users may also experience other adverse effects, such as anxiety and impaired cognitive and motor functions in the short-term.
According to Alaska’s former Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jay Butler, “Marijuana is known to impair reaction time, hand-eye coordination, and perception of time and distance, all of which increase the risk of being involved with motor vehicle crashes.”
Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines published recently in the American Journal of Public Health recommend “that users categorically refrain from driving … for at least 6 hours after using cannabis,” further noting that, “This wait time may need to be longer, depending on the user and properties of the specific cannabis product used.” The evidence grade given to this recommendation is “substantial”. (Fischer, 2017, p. e4) Regarding ability to drive, the study states, “epidemiological studies have clearly established that acute cannabis impairment increases the risk of motor vehicle accident involvement, including fatal collisions”. (Fischer, 2017, p. e6)
Meta-analysis review cited in the article states that intoxication and cognitive impairments generally last three to six hours after consumption. The authors note that “ingested cannabis products (with an extended absorption period) can have more pronounced and persistent effects.” (Fischer, 2017, p. e6)
Paid for by American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, 3851 Piper St, STE U240, Anchorage, AK 99508. Emily Nenon, Alaska State Director, approves this message.