"The public health costs of tobacco consumption have been documented to be substantially larger than those of marijuana use," begins a recent study published in the American Journal of Health Economics. "This study is the first to investigate the impact of medical marijuana laws (MMLs) on tobacco cigarette consumption."
Utilizing data from surveys on health and substance use, the researchers found that the implementation of medical cannabis laws "leads to a 1 to 1.5 percentage-point reduction in adult cigarette smoking" and a reduction in the total number of cigarettes consumed.
While that doesn't sound like a significant decrease, tobacco use contributes to several costly health issues—even a small drop in use can lead to substantial healthcare savings. So how much have Americans saved? Per the clinical findings, legalizing medical cannabis led to substantial "healthcare cost savings, ranging from $4.6 to $6.9 billion per year."
Keep in mind, these savings are solely based on cigarette smokers, so imagine all the other healthcare costs that medical cannabis could significantly reduce if the federal government finally legalized it.
Photo credit: Vahe Abed.