Marijuana Complaints Exceed those of Tobacco

October 2021

A 2017 University of Toronto study by public-health researchers reports that Ontario high-rise residents are more bothered by marijuana (cannabis) than tobacco.

One year prior to legalization of cannabis the study found that more high-rise building residents reported exposure to marijuana smoke than tobacco.  While anecdotal information has always suggested there were more complaints about marijuana smoke than tobacco, this effort has been about quantifying the impact.  Estimates are that more than 800,000 people were exposed to marijuana smoke from hallways, suites and elsewhere in residential buildings with an estimated 100,000 fewer complaining about tobacco smoke.  Since not everyone can identify marijuana by smell, actual impact is likely greater.

This is the first study to examine the prevalence of involuntary exposure to marijuana in residential buildings.  The impact of smoke residue sticking to walls, furniture, carpets, clothing and drapery was not considered.

Were this same study to be undertaken today, after legalization of marijuana, there would likely be a much greater impact than reported in this 2017 study.

This study was funded the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.