It’s already been proven that smoking is bad for the lungs. Now a new study published in the January 2008 issue of Respirology finds that marijuana smokers face rapid lung destruction — as much as 20 years ahead of tobacco smokers, in fact.

Bullous lung disease is often caused by exposure to toxic chemicals or long-term exposure to tobacco smoke. Air trapped in the lungs causes breathing obstruction and eventual lung destruction.

The average age of marijuana-smoking patients with lung problems was 41, while tobacco smokers had an average age of 65, according to researchers.

The disease can easily go undetected since patients may show normal chest X-rays and lung functions, according to the study “Bullous Lung Disease due to Marijuana.”

Marijuana smokers inhale more and hold their breath four times longer than cigarette smokers. This increases the concentration and pulmonary deposition of inhaled particulate matter, resulting in greater and more rapid lung destruction.