E-Cigarettes May Promote & Lead To Other Drug Use, Study Finds

shutterstock_140876200 Shutterstock

Despite the claims that they help curb tobacco smoking, e-cigarettes may actually be a gateway drug. According to new research, smoking e-cigarettes has the same physiological effect on the brain as regular cigarettes and can increase the risk of addiction to other drugs.

This study comes from the Department of Psychiatry and Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University Medical Center. These researchers determined that there needs to be more effective prevention programs developed to help reduce the popularity of e-cigs among young adults.

The researchers concluded,

E-cigarettes have the same physiological effects on the brain and may pose the same risk of addiction to other drugs as regular cigarettes, especially in adolescence during a critical period of brain development. We don’t yet know whether e-cigarettes will prove to be a gateway to the use of conventional cigarettes and illicit drugs, but that’s certainly a possibility. Nicotine clearly acts as a gateway drug on the brain, and this effect is likely to occur whether the exposure comes from smoking cigarettes, passive tobacco smoke, or e-cigarettes.

So although the information is not 100% conclusive, based on past research about nicotine, it affects the brain the same way, which means it may also be a gateway drug. This could lead to smoking of regular cigarettes or usage of other drugs. Either way, one thing is for sure: it's best to avoid smoking any kind of cigarette.


Did you know there’s a health and well being magazine written specifically for teens? Choices Magazine helps your teen understand dangerous substances with stories like “Teens vs. Cigarettes” and “Scary Spice.” Click here to sample an issue.