Nicotine: The Gateway Addiction

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Nicotine is an addictive drug.  Joseph Califano, head of the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, released an analysis of data from the National Institute of Drug Abuse that showed a direct link between cigarette smoking and the use of hard drugs by teenagers.

The analysis reveals that adolescents who smoke cigarettes are…Nicotine: The Gateway Addiction

  • 57 times more likely to use marijuana.
  • 51 times more likely to use stimulants like crack cocaine or crystal methamphetamine.
  • 12 times more likely to use heroin than those who have never used cigarettes.

This information suggests that smoking cigarettes and using other forms of tobacco products represent one of the largest threats to the health and welfare of teenagers in the nation. 

What can parents do to help their children avoid the risks?

Accept responsibility for…

  • Teaching your children about the risks associated with the use of tobacco and other forms of mood-altering substances.
  • Setting consequences should your children engage in the use of tobacco, alcohol or other drugs.
  • Setting a positive example by maintaining total abstinence from the use of tobacco products.
  • Avoiding all use of illicit drugs, and for restricting your use of alcohol to occasional social drinking.
  • Yourself if you have been diagnosed as having an alcohol or other drug dependency by avoiding all use of such substances.

Don’t accept responsibility for…
Consequences your child may experience due to the use of tobacco products, alcohol or other forms of mood-altering substances.  Instead, allow them to face the consequences when they make unwise decisions.  In doing so, offer them your guidance and respect.