These questions were answered by more than 50 individual scientists and science writers with expertise in addiction. To get as many answered as possible, responses were written quickly based on the personal background and knowledge of each expert. Please note that there was not a secondary review or proofreading of each fact, and if readers have questions or comments about any response, they can ask further questions.

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can vaping cause lung cancer? if so what in it causes it versus smoking cigarettes?

-big chungus, Illinois

Hi, big chungus - Many vaping liquids contain nicotine, which is one of the most addictive substances. Vaping may cause some people to start using regular cigarettes, which can then cause lung cancer. So, while vaping may not expose you to all of the same chemicals that cigarettes do, it's still not safe. In addition, the contents in vaping devices are not regulated, so it's impossible for a user to know what he or she is vaping. The liquid could contain a combination of propylene glycol, glycerin, chemical flavorings, and/or other chemicals in addition to nicotine. We are still learning about the long-term effects of vaping. For more information, see: Bottom line about e-cigarettes (fact sheet): https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/pdfs/Electron...

-Shwe Gyaw

can vaping cause lung cancer? if so, how is it different from lung cancer that you get from smoking cigarettes?

-keyboard, Illinois

Hi, keyboard - Many vaping liquids contain nicotine, which is one of the most addictive substances. Vaping may cause some people to start using regular cigarettes, which can then cause lung cancer. So, while vaping may not expose you to all of the same chemicals that cigarettes do, it's still not safe. In addition, the contents in vaping devices are not regulated, so it's impossible for a user to know what he or she is vaping. The liquid could contain a combination of propylene glycol, glycerin, chemical flavorings, and/or other chemicals in addition to nicotine. We are still learning about the long-term effects of vaping. For more information, see: Bottom line about e-cigarettes (fact sheet): https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/pdfs/Electron...

-Heather Kimmel

can vaping effect a pregnant woman

-vic, Illinois

Hi vic,

I'm guessing that you are wondering if vaping in pregnancy can harm the baby. We don't have research on that yet in humans (the link above talks about a study in mice), but we have concern that could happen because we do know that smoking during pregnency can cause harm to baby and to the develoing child, and most vaping products contain nicotine and would thus pose similar risks. You can read about it here: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarettes/what-are-risks-smoking-during-pregnancy. We also know that the sooner smoking stops in pregnancy, the better for baby. It's never too late to quit!

-Cora Lee Wetherington

Can vaping every day cause the same damage as chronic smoking?

-tuRrbOtAstic, Illinois

Thank you for joining us, tuRrbOtAstic! While we are still learning about the long-term effects of vaping, we know that regular vaping increases that person's exposure to nicotine. Nicotine is addictive, so when someone becomes addicted to nicotine, they will seek it out even if it interferes with their normal activities. Vaping, particularly in kids, can lead to the use of regular tobacco products, like cigarettes, which are very harmful. Exposure to drugs, including nicotine, can affect brain development and contribute to a range of problems later in life. While vaping may not expose you to all of the same chemicals that cigarettes do, it's still not safe. However, if someone is vaping to quit using cigarettes, this can reduce the number of toxic chemicals they are exposed to. The goal should be to quit use of all tobacco products! For more information, see: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarettes.

-Dave Thomas

can vaping harm your brain

-mschmaus11, Montana

Any drug that you may vape is going to affect your brain the same as smoking or other ways of consuming drugs. Vaping is promoted as being less harmful because the material is heated to the point of evaporation, which is lower than the temperature for combustion, which produces a number of harmful chemicals. However, many vape pens use solvents like propylene glycol, which is used in anti-freeze for cars. The long-term effects of inhaling propylene glycol are not established. Whether you are vaping or smoking, you are intending to ingest a drug. The most common drugs that are vaped are nicotine and marijuana. Vaping may be marginally better than smoking combustible materials, but you are still liable for the addictive and other harmful effects of the drugs you are vaping.

-Shwe Gyaw

Can weed help anxiety?

-elastigirl, Illinois

The short answer is no. There is no good evidence that marijuana helps with mental illnesses. In fact, teen use of marijuana has been associated with an increased risk of some psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia. If you've already tried other treatments for anxiety and you feel like you're not getting better, then talk to a trusted adult and let them know that you're struggling. The good news is that there are effective treatments available for anxiety (many of them don't involve any medication!). If you have questions about substance abuse or mental health treatment, call 1-800-662-HELP, 24/7. Or you can go to www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov/ to find information about treatment centers in your area. You may also want to check out our info on anxiety disorders: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml

-Ruben Baler

Are there any side effects of acid, what are they?

-JR, California

Thanks for your question, Jaime Rich. LSD is one of the most powerful mood changing hallucinogenic drugs. Like other hallucinogens, it can alter perception and cause users to experience sensations (sights, sounds, etc) that are real. Users may also experience intensified feelings, anxiety, nausea, and distorted perception of time. LSD also produces tolerance, meaning that users need to take more and more of the drug to get the same effect.

-Aaron White

Are there currently any FREE vaping cessation programs for schools?

-mpapa, New Jersey

Hi mpapa. Thanks for your question. Vaping, and using ecigs, can expose teens to the same levels of nicotine that comes from cigarettes. Many teens have reported becoming addicted to ecigs and this is a real concern. While there are not cessation programs that focus on quitting ecigs, many of the programs that have been successful for cigarettes may work for ecigs. Check out some options here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarettes and https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/tobacco/quit-...

-Kevin Walton

Are there damaging effects to long term marijuana use?

-Lan507756, Illinois

Absolutely! Long-term use of marijuana can result in addiction and increases the risk of psychosis in some individuals. Research also shows that marijuana can harm the developing teen brain. Consistent use of marijuana can also result in poor school performance, use of other drugs, decreased satisfaction with life, increased risk of accidents, and severe nausea and vomiting.

-Michele Rankin

Are there different effects between Crystal meth and Plain Meth

-CK, New Hampshire

Hi Cameron -- The effects are similar and equally dangerous. Both of them can produce anxiety, confusion, insomnia (trouble sleeping), mood problems, violent behavior, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, weight loss, severe dental problems (“meth mouth”), and intense itching leading to skin sores from scratching -- just to name the most common effects. Here's more information: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs-charts#metha...

-Anto Bonci

Are there some circumstances where somebody can be immune or somewhat immune to a drug in a way they don't get high or as high as others would if they were using that drug?

-CC, New Hampshire

Great question! Lots of things can cause a person to react faster or slower to drugs. For example alcohol often "hits" lighter people faster than heavier people because it takes more alcohol to get the same effect. Everyone's body metabolizes (breaks down) drugs at different rates too. So if your body breaks down a drug slower than someone else, you might react to the drug more quickly. Whether or not you are a man or woman can also lead to differences in reaction to drugs because of differences in weight and muscle mass.

-John Satterlee

Are there specific areas in the U.S where drug use is noticably higher or lower.

-Liam, Maryland

Good question Liam! Yes, the use of certain drugs is higher in some areas of the country than others. For example, the opioid epidemic has had a particularly negative impact on northeastern United States, the central Appalachian region, and the Southwest. West Virgina, New Hampshire, and Ohio are the states with the highest level of opioid-related overdose deaths. We have a great map that shows the problem areas state by state at www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-summaries-by-state . But even one death is too many.

-Marsha Lopez

Are vapes with 0 nicotine juice still dangerous??

-Ye'07, Illinois

Hey Ye! Vapes haven't been around long enough for us to be sure how dangerous they are- even without nicotine, vaping can expose your lungs to harmful substances. Also, the most popular vapes aren't available without nicotine, so people who think they're vaping just flavoring may be wrong! Check out this link for more info on vaping: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/real-cost-vaping

-Emily Einstein

Are video games as addictive as drugs? eeee

-LY , New Hampshire

Hi Landon
we don't have all the research we'd like to answer your question, but some video games appear to be quite addictive and trigger compulsive behaviors that are similar to those seen with addictive drugs. If you think you are in trouble, seek professional help before it gets out of hand.
Best of luck to you.

-Ruben Baler

Are video games more addictive than drugs

-KL, Montana

Hi KL
Not typically, not. But some games can be quite addcitive; it depends on the circumstances.
B smart and B healthy

-Dave Thomas

Are video games more addictive than drugs?

-CACHO,

Hola Cacho
great question.
We are only beginning to study the addictive properties of video games and other online activities. But I would venture that, for some people, video games could be as addictive as drugs of abuse.
B smart and protect your brain. It's the only one you have, make it last.
best of luck 2 u

-Ruben Baler

Are video games more addictive than drugs?

-Student, Illinois

Hmmm, interesting question. My guess is no, but I don't know of any studies making this comparision.

-Dave Thomas

are videogames a type of drug

-el chapo,

Hi el chapo!,
Nope, videogames are not drugs. BUT addiction is defined as "compulsive use despite harm" and some people spend WAY too much time playing video games, so in a sense, one can become addicted to these games. But again, its a game and not a drug.

-Dave Thomas

are videos games considered a drug and or tv

-unknown...., California

Videogames or TV are not considered drugs, but there is research showing that they can also be addictive. Other things, like gambling, that are not drugs, can also be addictive.

-Carlos Blanco

are vitamins considered drugs

-sssssssssssssss, Illinois

Hello,

Vitamins are considered drugs. A drug is a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body. Vitamins are essential nutrients that contribute to a healthy life. Although most people get all the vitamins they need from the foods they eat, millions of people worldwide take supplemental vitamins as part of their health regimen.

For more information, check out https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm118079.htm.

-Jinhee Lee

Are weed brownies dangerous because I've heard from a friends story that you can consume more than expected and have a very scary experience?

-milk, Illinois

Hey milk- you're totally right that people can have very scary experiences as a result of edibles like weed brownies! When people eat marijuana, the effects of the drug are slowed down by the digestive process. This can lead people to consume way more drug than they realize. High doses of marijuana can cause things like paranoia, anxiety, and even hallucinations.

-Emily Einstein

Are whippets or nitrous oxide dangerous?

-DS, Illinois

Hi DonnyS, great question. Nitrous oxide can cause people to pass out if they overdose or don't breathe enough oxygen while inhaling these substances. Also, the nitrous products may contain other chemicals that can be quite dangerous, too. Here's some information on our website about inhalants in general that you may find useful: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/inhalants

-Wilson Compton

are you certified scientists

-firebreather65, Illinois

Yes! We are very smart :)

-Jack Stein

are you more tired in the morning if you smoke kush the night before

-Anonymous, Illinois

Hi you
It depends what else is going on in your life. But I can tell you that even if you feel good after using kush, you are shortchanging the health of your brain in the long run. B smarter!

-Ruben Baler

At what age do most people start abusing drugs?

-rnelson, Montana

Thanks, rnelson. Most people begin using drugs in their teens.

-Marsha Lopez

At what age is the most addictive age to do drugs?

-Adam , Illinois

Hello Adam: Excellent question. Most people who use drugs start during their teenage years. Scientists believe that the developing brain is more susceptible to the effects of drug use. .If you start using drugs while you are young---as a teen---you are more likely to get addicted. What is the science of addiction? See Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction: www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/preface

-Aria Crump

Be completely real, have any of you guys smoked weed before?

-shmo, Illinois

Hmm, there are a lot of people in the room from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and beyond. I will ask the group and see who raises their hands....nope, no hands, LOL.Honestly, I am sure there are folks in this room who have, but marajuana is a whole lot stronger now and we do know alot more about its harm. I hope this is helpful to you.

-Dave Thomas

Besides actual drugs, what else can you get high off of?

-nyla-fvsu4h, Georgia

Hi, nyla-fvsu4h! Great question! Exercise is known to improve mood. So grab a friend and take a long walk! Or join a sports team. Being part of a group, like the group putting on your school play, can also make you happy. Or do whatever you enjoy!

-Emily Jones

besides its addictive properties, is nicotine that bad?

-JS , Illinois

Dear James - thank you for joining us! You are correct in that nicotine is very addictive. Nicotine is also toxic and its ingestion, inhalation, or absorption through the skin or eyes can result in vomiting, nausea, and eye irritation. Annual e-cigarette calls to poison centers increased from 238 in 2011 to 3,692 in 2014 – an increase of greater than 1400 percent, and this is related to the increase in e-cigarette use, which contains nicotine. Quick facts about tobacco, nicotine and e-cigarettes: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarettes

-Dave Thomas

Between cigars and cigarettes which is more dangerous?

-BTR0077,

Hey there BTR 0077 - Both cigarettes and cigars burn tobacco, and the smoke is inhaled. Even though some people who smoke cigars say they are safer because the smoke only goes into their mouths and is not inhaled to their lungs, the smoke from cigars is just as harmful as cigarette smoke. The thousands of chemicals from cigarette or cigar smoke are absorbed into the body and can cause nicotine addiction, lung disease, heart disease, or have other harmful effects throughout the body. For more info: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/cigarettes-other-tobacc...

-Kevin Walton