Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has just recently come out and said that marijuana is “infinitely worse” than tobacco. The issue with his statement is that he has no scientific evidence to back this outlandish claim.
Stephen Harper is the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, which gives some insight as to why he has been so critical of Justin Trudeau. Trudeau, who is the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, has come out with an opposing view on marijuana, and is in fact trying to have it fully legalized. Stephen Harper criticizes Trudeau for proposing the idea of legalization simply because of the stigma that is attached to marijuana. Harper’s only evidence that says marijuana is worse that tobacco is the fact that authorities have spent decades attempting to discourage Canadians from tobacco use, and that because marijuana is worse than tobacco—his own determination—the government does not want to encourage the use of it.
Harper is further perpetuating the stigma and stereotype that is so closely attached to marijuana that it deters from the actual facts of the plant. According to Dr. David Hammond, “while there are significant health risks associated with marijuana…there is ‘no comparison’ between the dangers it poses and the harm caused by tobacco.” Obviously, smoking is not meant to improve lung functionality, but thankfully there are multiples modes of cannabis consumption. Hammond says that Harper’s claim is misleading. Another doctor, Dr. Robert Schwartz, says that every year, tobacco kills more Canadians than “alcohol, motor vehicles, firearms, illegal drug use, and HIV put together.” This alone speaks volumes that contradict Harper’s claim.
For Harper to make such a claim, and criticize Trudeau so strongly for his beliefs, you would think that Harper would have more scientific backing. Harper does not have medical evidence that supports this, nor does he have any type of evidence other than that authorities do not want people smoking tobacco and because marijuana is worse for you people should not smoke that either. The issue is, it has never been proven that marijuana is worse than tobacco.