Pass on smoking, but push to legalize marijuana? - FOX 35 News Orlando

Pass on smoking, but push to legalize marijuana?

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ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) --  Longtime smokers say smoking is a tough habit to quit.

"Sometimes I have to just stop the client and be like look I need a cigarette right now," said Jose Tenorio, who has smoked for the last five years.

On Wednesday, CVS Caremark announced it's taking a stand against tobacco.

By October, you will not be able to buy tobacco products at 7,600 drugstores across the country. The move will cost CVS Caremark about $2 billion dollars in annual revenue.

Dr. Kenneth Lee is a Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon at UF Cancer Center at Orlando Health. He said CVS' big announcement is a step in the right direction.

"It continues to be a tremendous problem," said Dr. Lee. "Specifically at the Cancer Center, we see that the majority of cancers are related to smoking directly."

But while there's a push to snuff out smoking tobacco, a legal substance, there's a bigger push to legalize an illegal substance, marijuana.

Some critics said it makes no sense.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio tweeted this on Wednesday, "Many of the same people applauding #CVS for not selling tobacco are ok with making it easier to buy and smoke pot. #makesnosense"

"The polling shows the majority of Floridians do support medical marijuana," said Rachel Lott, president of the University of Central Florida chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML@UCF.

NORML is an organization based in Washington, DC. Members aim to legalize marijuana nationwide. Lot's group collected thousands of signatures last year to get medical marijuana on the state ballot.

Studies show smoking marijuana can ease pain linked to certain medical issues. However, a different study by the British Lung Foundation found that smoking three to four cannabis cigarettes a day can do as much damage to your health as smoking 20 cigarettes a day.

"My opinion is that smoking any sort of plant matter is not beneficial," said Lott. "No matter how many benefits the plant has, but luckily with marijuana there's other ways to consume it."

Some experts say longevity is another possible reason for the mixed message. The debate over medical marijuana heated up fairly recently. The message to get smokers to quit has been out for decades.

Agree or disagree, one thing is clear: the information is still difficult to swallow for critics of both.

"I used to smoke before I got bad valves and heart congestion failure," said Roy Lugo, a former smoker. "Next thing you know I had to go for surgery."

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