This is probably one more reason why teenage years are perceived as 'tumultuous'. When teens take to smoking, it is like the Pandora's Box has opened. Such teens are prone to misusing alcohol and drugs, in comparison to their no'vice' contemporaries, a recent insight indicates.
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'.