E-Cigarettes a Possible Gateway to Drug Use, Addiction, and Tobacco Smoking.
An alarming report claims that using electronic cigarettes may lead to tobacco cigarette smoking and increase the likelihood of illicit drug use and addiction. The researchers discovered that when mice were exposed to nicotine, the substance triggered biochemical alteration in the brain and activated a gene linked to the reward response. This process enhanced a subsequent response to cocaine in the mice, suggesting that nicotine may be a gateway drug for cocaine. Study author Dr. Denise Kandel writes, “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.”
The New England Journal of Medicine, September 2014