The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse evaluated the alcohol and drug abuse tendencies among 15- to 19-year-olds, drawing on the strength of data from a 2004 addition survey. The survey highlighted that almost 27% of teens confessed to smoking cigarettes, even rarely, prior to the survey. It also came to light that 98% of teens in the surveyed group had consumed alcohol in the previous year as compared to 75% of non-smoking youth.
Alarmingly, 91% of teen smokers had even tried the drug 'cannabis' as against only 29% of teen non-smokers. Rita Notarandrea, director of research and policy for the centre, said 'There is a strong message here for parents and educators to recognize the correlation between tobacco and other substance use, and to start a dialogue with young smokers about their use of alcohol and other drugs'.
Undoubtedly the relationship between youth-smoking, drinking and abuse of drugs is palpable, but we cannot cast aspersions yet, that tobacco could be a 'gateway drug'.