Are you addicted to coffee? If you are we pity you. Coffee addiction is a horrible cancer on the world, and the first step down a slippery slope to more serious drugs like crack cocaine and crystal meth. We pity you and your family and we hope you recover as soon as possible.
Of course, you’d never hear that being said to you just because you like a cup of Joe every morning. Coffee is seen as a harmless drug. Sure, it has addictive qualities, but it is also something that many people think they have under control. Coffee is not going to lead you to crack cocaine, in fact the very idea is ludicrous and quite comic.
Vaping does not lead to further addiction
So we are being funny. But the fact is that many people don’t actually understand addiction, and they see it as being something that leads to further addiction. This argument has been around for centuries. It is now coming into play with regard to electronic cigarettes, which many commentators out there seem to feel is a gateway device to harder drugs, starting with tobacco cigarettes.
If you’re led to tobacco cigarettes through electronic cigarettes, the argument goes, you are showing signs of addictive behaviour and this could even lead to harder drugs, or at least the middle-weight stuff like cannabis. Various authority figures and detractors of the electronic cigarette community are pursuing this incredible argument right now. But it simply doesn’t hold any water.
Addiction science has changed, and vaping is not part of it
The argument states that soft drugs and mildly risky behaviour would eventually lead to harder drugs and moderately or highly risky behaviour. Perhaps this argument was stronger back in the 50s, when people are paranoid about everything. Back then, marijuana was becoming a major threat to society in America, and it was easy to think that things were going out of control.
But that thinking has changed, thankfully. One aspect of addiction science at the moment that really makes sense to us is that an addiction to one particular drug or substance does not necessarily mean that will follow on to another drug addiction.
In fact, experts have started to say that people who experiment with one type of drug may well experiment with another type of drug, but not because of that first drug. More likely this further experimentation is just indication of addictive behaviour. In that sense, an electronic cigarette will not make you want to try a tobacco cigarette.
Genetics to blame?
There is also a school of thought and research that plants the blame firmly at the door of genetics. We may well be genetically predisposed to addiction. This would explain why some people go down a very rocky road in their life with their various addictions, while their friends simply don’t get involved.
Sometimes it’s not a matter of personal choice and is instead an issue that the person must fight, even against their DNA. There are numerous people in the world who look at this issue very closely, and a vast body of research that points to the idea that addiction is genetically inherited.
This particular piece of research looks at how mice and rats were studied for genetic predisposition towards addiction. It showed, fundamentally, that animals that didn’t show the same genetic make up didn’t share the same addictive behaviour. It talks about how reward pathways had been passed down from generation to generation.
We think a lot more work needs to be done in this area. But we think that the more work that is done in this area, the more people will realise that addiction doesn’t create further addiction. That is why we talked about coffee at the start of this article.
Just because you drink a lot of coffee and you’re addicted to caffeine does not mean that you are going to be naturally addicted to other substances. But some people still persist with this particular type of thinking.
This is the gateway argument. A child walks into a store and is sold an electronic cigarette. She then takes it home and starts to use it. After a while, she realises that she enjoys nicotine and keeps using it week on week, month after month. Essentially, she is addicted to electronic cigarettes.
At risk when vaping? Not really
She then goes on to live a relatively clean life. Doesn’t drink, doesn’t try any harder drugs and doesn’t indulge in any risky behaviour. Anyone who is a detractor of electronic cigarettes right now looks at that child and says she is at risk.
They will say that because she’s taking in nicotine from the ‘gateway’ drug that is the electronic cigarette, and she is at risk of them further becoming addicted to other substances. And this is entirely the fault of the electronic cigarette.
The idea is that the electronic cigarette will then push that girl into other stuff. But the girl simply likes nicotine, and she lives a relatively clean life into adulthood and beyond. This actually happens. People are not made into addicts by a substance.
The sooner the experts and other authorities in the world realise this and take the idea on board, the sooner we will have a situation where the gateway argument is finally laid to rest. Let us not forget that, on the other side of the coin, we have tobacco cigarettes. Here, deadly objects are being used on a daily basis to feed an addiction.
This addiction is so powerful that it is currently staying with people to the day they die. And more often than not, they die because of that addiction. On top of that there are thousands of toxins inside these instruments of death. How is it that we’re still sitting here talking about the gateway argument for electronic cigarettes, when the gate has been blasted open by tobacco cigarettes?