Published in the New England Journal of Medicine is a study whose results show the biological link between addictions to nicotine and cocaine. According to Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, the medical journal has displayed an unprecedented distortion of evidence to wrongly prove nicotine and cocaine link. The research was conducted by a group of experts even including Eric R. Kandel, who is a Nobel Prize winner.
Rodent Vs Human
The study involved analysis of specially developed mouse model and researchers have found that the mice became additionally addicted to cocaine after they were administered with nicotine for a few days. According to researchers, they have detected some changes in the brain of the rodents that can justify the increased addictiveness of cocaine that was induced by the addiction to nicotine. It is on these findings that researcher have come up with a conclusion that ecigarettes are gateway to illicit drugs.
It is quite interesting and upsetting that researchers particularly pinpointed ecigarettes as the possible gateway to use of illegal drugs due to their nicotine content and delivery. Nevertheless, there are other nicotine-containing products such as Nicotine Replacement Therapy Products that public health advocates insist that smokers should use when attempting at smoke cessation.
If nicotine can indeed pave the way for a person’s possible dependence on illicit drugs, ecigarettes should not be singled out. Furthermore, Dr. Farsalinos argues that the claim of the researcher is contradictory to science and to common sense.
If nicotine is a gateway to drugs, then people taking nicotine are more prone to try and to be addicted to the drugs. It is obvious that not all observations from laboratory rodent studies are pertinent to humans. Even if they do, the study results are not yet adequate in coming up with the conclusion that ecigs are gateway to illegal drugs. Ecigs will not force a vaper to try cocaine.
In fact, majority of smokers have not tried using cocaine. It is very possible that some cocaine users are also smokers. These are the people who are liable to recreational drug and substance abuse. They begin with legal, cheap and easily accessible cigarettes and later move on to the illicit substances. Far5salinos explained that this is behavioral issue and not genetics or brain chemistry.
The study authors have actually explained that a gateway hypothesis alternative has been suggested based on the notion that using various drugs reflect a general liability for drug use and the addiction to drugs; instead of the use of a certain drug will increase the dangers of moving forward to use of another substance.
If The Mouse Model Is Applicable to Humans
Suppose the mouse model used by the researchers perfectly applies to humans, this study provides information: If a person uses nicotine and he/she tries cocaine; he/she will be more addicted to cocaine.
At any rate, the authors failed to prove the gateway effect since the theory needs a real person using ecigs to volunteer to use cocaine. It was not proven by the authors that using nicotine will indeed force anyone to try any drug like cocaine.
The researchers should have instead concluded that if a person is using nicotine, he/she is not advised to try cocaine or other drugs due to the likelihood of dependence on that substance. The researchers displayed a quite bold and brazen stance against electronic cigarettes because they singled out the devices even if the study shows not a hint of relevance to ecigs and to any adverse effects from using ecigs. The authors did not evaluate ecig use in the experiments and did not administer nicotine via inhalation.
Dr. Farsalinos ended his post by saying that it is unfortunate that prestigious scientists and journals are engaging in the political game by choosing to distort and to misrepresent science. It is apparent that there really is an effort to create confusion and public opinion manipulation to influence the regulators to make inappropriate decisions. Scientists have the responsibility to restore truth and resist manipulative efforts.