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Electronic cigarettes are a "Gateway to class A drugs", REALLY?!?!

Posted on 02 September 2014

Electronic cigarettes are a "Gateway to class A drugs", REALLY?!?!

I really thought, as I finished editing my last blog post in response to Rachael Lloyd, that it would be my one and only attack on the negative media surrounding e-cigarettes.
The scaremongering would continue, of course, but nothing would rile me as much as that article. 

How wrong was I. 

This time, a pair of articles literally had me smoking at the ears, or maybe I should now be vaping at the ears. In case you've missed them, they are:

http://time.com/3265187/e-cigarettes-gateway-drug/ 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2742362/E-cigarettes-act-gateway-harmful-illegal-drugs-raising-risk-addiction.html

 To be fair, one of these is from The Daily Mail, well versed in creating panic and jumping on the bandwagon, but still. The basic premise of both articles is that vaping can lead to Class A drug use. Yep, you heard it here first... Vape, and next thing you know you'll be snorting coke in a toilet or shooting up with heroin in an alley.

It's on a par with saying that all coffee drinkers are going to switch to cocaine to keep them awake; all paracetamol users are going to take morphine to ease a headache and all children who use Pritt sticks are going to end up sniffing glue in a park. It's just NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

I cannot begin to understand the ridiculousness of these articles. Based on a study of MICE, scientists are claiming that using nicotine can lead to users needing harder, stronger drugs to satisfy the pleasure centres of their brains. The main point of this is clearly flawed. Mice are not like human beings in this instance. Humans have free will, and morals, and the general understanding that drugs such as cocaine are dangerous, highly addictive, expensive and can cause seriously unattractive single-nostril damage.

Mice are, well, mice. They are essentially the wenches of the scientific world, doing the bidding of drug-pushing scientists. Of course they are going to want to satisfy their pleasure centres more - what else are they going to do stuck in a cage? Fair enough, their brain chemistry may well work in the same way as ours but under no circumstances does this mean that the behaviour pattern will be the same because we have something the mice lack - common sense.

If nicotine led to Class A addiction, then surely all those people who smoked for forty years BEFORE making the switch to an electronic cigarette must already have a well established habit? Surely the article needs to mention those who continue to have a 60 a day smoking habit, who haven't discovered the joy of vaping, and the dangers they must be in? My grandmother smoked... She was addicted to nicotine... But she didn't drink and she certainly didn't have a fondness for ketamine!

It is a well known fact that e-cigarettes provide less nicotine than smoking in the same time frame, therefore suggesting that in actual fact we are less likely to find ourselves 'craving' a bigger hit.

Finally, I think the whole premise of the article is flawed. In the Daily Mail, it quotes that 'one drug alters the brain's circuitry in a way that enhances the effects of a subsequent drug, referring to nicotine enhancing the effects of stronger drugs. Fair play, this may be the case. But, fundamentally, unless we have tried such drugs we, as nicotine users, won't know.

It borders on hilarity that the assumption seems to be that nicotine users crave harder drugs. We don't. We're not rodents. So, Time and the Daily Mail, stop treating us like vermin. Our pleasure centres are just fine, thank you!

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