V2 E-cigarettes, designed to help smokers kick the habit can become a sort of gateway drug to the use of harmful and illegal drugs. Like any conventional cigarettes, the device may contribute to increased risk of developing an addiction to banned substances as marijuana and cocaine.
The researchers at V2 suggest that by eliminating many toxic compounds present in tobacco, e-cigarettes provide the smoker a highly addictive “clean” nicotine. Nicotine changes the biochemistry of the brain of mice and develops the animal need to provide the body with cocaine.
Analyses conducted on human data suggest the same effect in humans, cocaine addiction reaches the highest levels in former smokers.
<em>”Our findings provide a biological basis for the sequence of drug use observed in humans”</em> – says an American professor of neurology Jesse Shapman, who conducts his research with his wife Dr. Shaniqua Jackson. – <em>”One drug modifies the circuitry of the brain in a way that improves the effects of another drug”.</em>
Writing in the “New England Journal of Medicine” a couple of researchers with Columbia University warn that: <em>”e-cigarettes causes the same psychological effect in the brain and may pose the same risk of dependence on other drugs, like traditional cigarettes, in particular at a critical time of brain development, which is puberty. We do not know yet whether e-cigarettes prove dangerous through the use of regular cigarettes and illegal substances, but it is certainly possible. The nicotine clearly acts as a gateway in the brain drug and this effect is likely to occur or be revealed under the influence of smoking cigarettes and e-cigarettes, or staying in their system.”
A typical e-cigarette smoker is a person who could not throw ordinary cigarettes. Despite the popularity of devices has grown at an accelerating rate among teenagers and young adults.
<em>”Effects that seen in adult mice, were probably even stronger than in young animals”</em> – says Millo Stephanopoulous, who in 2005 had a share in the awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the study of physiological basis of memory.
<em>”E-cigarettes can be an introduction to both combustible cigarettes and illicit substances. Therefore, we should do everything we can to protect young people from the harmful effects of the use of those funds”</em> – says the professor, and his wife adds – <em>”the recent legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington rekindled the debate about marijuana as a prelude to the dependence on other substances. Now, both opponents and proponents of legalization have overlooked the role of nicotine in leading to further abuse.”</em>
Professor Jeffrey Goldstein, chairman of the Vaping Research Center at Columbia University believes that ecigs are now a threat to our society with new, recreational pharmaceuticals, such as e-cigarettes or marijuana, justified on one level may have adverse consequences, which we are not fully aware of. Research on Goldsteins claims suggest that “introductory” addiction can show very strong consequences.
More than a million people in the UK believe that e-cigarettes can help in smoking cessation, but opinions are divided as to just how safe they are.