Gateway Drugs Like Tobacco are Path to Drug Classes

by: Mike Miller

There are many who believe that nicotine is a gateway drug for harder drugs. I am one of those people. How do you feel?

Tobacco companies target young markets for their new products. Offering a variety of ways and flavors to ingest nicotine is a good way to get kids hooked young. These products make it easy for young nicotine addicts to indulge their habit anywhere, including in the classroom. As reported in

The ongoing fight against underage tobacco use is difficult. It has been reported that 11.4 percent of high school students said they smoked, 9.8 percent of male high school students said they used smokeless tobacco, and 1,300 teenagers under 18 have become regular smokers – all in 2012!

As a counselor for both in-class and online drug classes I think those numbers are low. My guess is closer to 20% smoke with another 10-15% using smokeless products that get nicotine into their system.

Do high tobacco taxes keep teens from using nicotine products? No way.

Rhode Island has the second-highest cigarette excise tax in the country — $3.46 per pack. New York has the highest at $4.35 and both are in the top 5 with respect to the number of students using nicotine products.

What is needed are more tobacco and drug classes that stops nicotine use before it becomes an addiction.