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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Are e-cigarettes bad for you?

-Kearsarge, New Hampshire

Hi Kearsarge - they certainly can be. The liquid in e-cigarettes can cause nicotine poisoning if someone drinks, sniffs, or touches it. Recently there has been a surge of poisoning cases in children under age 5. Testing of some e-cigarette products found the aerosol (vapor) to contain known cancer-causing and toxic chemicals, and particles from the vaporizing mechanism that may be harmful. The health effects of repeated exposure to these chemicals are not yet clear.

-Michelle Rankin

Are e-cigarettes bad for you? and can you get addicted?

-cookie monster, Maryland
We are getting alot of questions about e-cigs today.  The bottom line is that electronic cigarettes are new to the scene and we don't have a lot of scientific data on their safety or effects yet.  Nicotine is addictive, so using e-cigarettes puts you at risk for addiction. While they may be advertised as "safer" than cigarettes, there is a lot we don't know about the health consequences of e-cigarettes.  One thing we do know from research about nicotine is that it can affect the brain's development...and the brain is still developing well into your 20's, so using e-cigarettes is not a good idea for young people.  For more information see:http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/electronic-cigarettes-e-...
-Cindy Miner

Are e-cigarettes dangerous?

-MSUgosparty2, Minnesota

Hi MSUgospart2, that is a great question.  E-cigarettes have become available only recently, so there is a lot we don't know about them.  But there is also a lot we do know. The aerosol, also called vapor, e-cigs produce is not water vapor. E-cig vapor also contains the chemicals in the eliquid, such as propylene glycol and glycerin and other chemicals that are known toxins.  The short-term and long-term safety of inhaling these substances, along with the flavorings, are yet to be fully understood.  However, we do know that nicotine, found in most e-cigs, can be very addictive.  And kids are very senstive to this affect of nicotine.  Since kids are more likely to become addicted to nicotine than adults, it is best to avoid it in all situations, whether it comes from a tobacco cigarette or an e-cig. Check out these resources on e-cigs - https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarette

-Kevin Walton

Are E-Cigarettes healthier than normal cigarettes?

-USERNAME, Massachusetts

E-cigarettes are increasingly popular battery-operated devices marketed as a safer alternative to smoking conventional cigarettes. They produce flavored nicotine aerosol that looks and feels like tobacco smoke but without the tar produced by burning tobacco leaves. However, while e-cigarettes do not produce tobacco smoke, it is still unclear how safe they are. They still deliver nicotine, which is a highly addictive drug. Also, vapor from some e-cigarette products has been found to contain known carcinogens and toxic chemicals including formaldehyde. Until more studies are conducted, there is no way of knowing what the health consequences of repeated exposure to these chemicals may be, whether e-cigarettes are any safer than conventional cigarettes, or if they are useful to help a person quit smoking.

Dave

-Dave Thomas

Are e-cigarettes safer than normal cigarettes? Why or why not?

-Sandra, Virginia

We've received that question A LOT this morning!  There's a lot of info out there about there about e-cigs...that they can help smokers quit, that they are safe to use, they only produce harmless water vapor.  If I heard only that, I'd think they were safe too!  The truth is, e-cigs are not regulated by the government, so we dont' really know what's in them (even though maufacturers say there is nothing harmful), and we don't know how they can impact a person's health. While they do have potential to help established adult smokers quit, but nicotine is addictive and can have long-lasting effects on the developing brain AND research shows that it can make the brain more susceptible to addiction later in life. Also, testing has also shown that e-cig water vapor contains known carcinogens and other toxic chemicals and small metals. Check here for more info http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/electronic-cigarettes-e-cigarettes

-Albert Avila

are E-cigs actually better for you?

-strawberry, Washington

There's a lot of misinformation out there about there about e-cigs...that they can help smokers quit, that they are safe to use, they only produce harmless water vapor.  If I heard only that, I'd think they were safe too!  The truth is, we dont' really know what's in them (even though maufacturers say there is nothing harmful), and we don't know how they can impact a person's health. While they do have potential to help adult smokers quit, nicotine is addictive and can have long-lasting effects on the developing brain AND can make the brain more susceptible to addiction. Also, testing has also shown that e-cig vapor contains known carcinogens and other toxic chemicals and small metals. Check here for more info https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarettes

-Belinda Sims

Are e-cigs actually better than regular cigarettes, when it comes to first and second hand smoking?

-Chuck Bass, Minnesota

research underway as we speak to better understand e-cigarettes. There are potentially many chemicals in e-cigs and we're not sure fully what there health consequences are.

-Maureen Boyle

Are e-cigs with no nicotine safe?

-glenelg5, Maryland

Hi Glen
with or without nicotine, e-cigs have a lot of other chemicals in them. it is still to early to tell whether or not and to what extent, e-cigs are safe or safer than regular cigarettes.
cheers
 

-Ruben Baler

are elctric cigarettes bad for you?

-Mary-jew-wanna, Maryland
Electronic cigarettes are new to the scene and we don't have a lot of scientific data on their safety or effects yet.  While they may be advertised as "safer" than cigarettes, there is a lot we don't know about the health consequences of e-cigarettes.  There have been a few reports of e-cigarettes exploding when people use them causing some serious injuries to their hands and faces. The bottom line....you don't know what you are getting in these products or their health consequences. One thing we do know, nicotine can alter brain development in young people---and we know the brain is still developing well into the early 20's.  So if you value your ability to think and enjoy life, I wouldn't mess around with it.  For more information see:http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/electronic-cigarettes-e-...
-Cindy Miner

Are high school students more perceptible to use drugs than alcohol?

-chuck is god, Minnesota

Chuck. We collect much information on drug and alcohol use. The use of alcohol or drugs depends on access and availablility. It is easier to get alcohol and cigarettes than other drugs, so more students are using alohol and nicotine.

Every year the University of Michigan conducts Monitoring the Future, a nationwide survey that asks students about their use of drugs and alcohol. You can read about the latest findings here:  http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/high-school-youth-trends

-Roger Sorenson

are Hookah pens dangerous ?/?//?///

-ilovesaron, Maryland

Hi ilovesaron - E-cigs are not regulated by the government, so we dont' really know what's in them (even though maufacturers say there is nothing harmful), and we don't know how they can impact a person's health. While they do have potential to help adult smokers quit, nicotine is addictive, it can can have long-lasting effects on the developing brain AND research shows it can make the brain more susceptible to addiction. Also, testing has also shown that e-cig water vapor contains known carcinogens and other toxic chemicals and small metals. Check here for more info http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/electronic-cigarettes-e-cigarettes

-Belinda Sims

can a person be healthy after when they are drug addicts?

-YeseniaC, Texas

Dear Yesenia,
I'm not sure I understand your question, so I'll answer it two ways.
Yes, a person can be healthy and live a good life after quitting drugs.
If you are asking if a person can be healthy when s/he is a drug addict - it is possible, but much less likely. All addictive drugs have negative health effects, which you can find out about here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts. In addition, someone who is addicted spends a lot of time thinking about the drug, obtaining it, and using it. That usually means that other areas of his/her life are less important, including taking care of his/her health.

-Michelle Leff

can a person quit a very addictive drug if they try?

-BryceR, Texas

Yes and the likelihood they succeed is increased if they get professional help.

-Nora Volkow

Can adhesive on the back of stickers cause you to get high?

-tamyra221344, Georgia

Hi tamyra.

I don't think so. It probably tastes aweful too.

 
 

-Ruben Baler

Can alcohol be good for the brain

-JCox, New Hampshire

The short answer is that alcohol is not good for a teen's developing brain.  Research tells us that drinking lots of alcohol during the teenage years can make an area of the brain called the frontal lobes smaller. The frontal lobes help us make decisions, think about things, and pay attention. Alcohol also can shrink the hippocampus, the area of the brain area that helps us learn and remember. Teenagers who drink a lot also have trouble with learning. We do not know yet whether these problems go away if the teenager stops drinking.

However, there is some evidence that, for older people, drinking small amounts of alcohol (a drink per day for women or two for men) might decreases the changes of developing dementia, which is a condition in which brain function deteriorates and it becomes harder to focus attention and learn new things.  

-Aaron White

can alcohol change your life

-josue L, Texas

Yes. It can kill you. And that's a major life change. 

-Aaron White

can alcohol make you fat ?

-laurenm, Texas

It certainly can. A glass of wine or a bottle of beer can have around 150-200 calories. That's about as much as a candy bar. Two glasses of wine could have as many calories as a fast food hamburger. The calories from drinking can really start to add up over time. 

-Aaron White

Can alcohol make you pass out quickly

-KevinC, Texas

Yes. If someone drinks enough alcohol quickly enough, the alcohol will hit the brain hard and areas involved in keep you awake and alive can be shut down. 

 

-Aaron White

can alcohol miss up your brain?

-svarney, New Hampshire

Yes, alcohol affects every part of the brain. Research tells us that drinking lots of alcohol during the teenage years can make an area of the brain called the frontal lobes smaller. The frontal lobes help us make decisions, think about things, and pay attention. Alcohol also can shrink the hippocampus, the area of the brain area that helps us learn and remember. Teenagers who drink a lot also have trouble with learning. We do not know yet whether these problems go away if the teenager stops drinking. It can also affect the part of the brain that controls our movement, making it more difficult to walk and focus.Teens who drink too much risk suffering lingering problems with attention and memory. 

-Aaron White

can alcohol poising affect your lungs

-justinC, Texas

Yes. If a person drinks enough alcohol to suffer alcohol poisoning, small areas in the lower part of the brain can be shut down. One of these areas is supposed to make us gag if something blocks the airway. If the person is suffering alcohol poisoning, they might vomit and then inhale some of it. Some people simply drown in the vomit and die. Others live but then die a week or more later due to aspiration pneumonia, a bacterial infection in the lungs caused by inhaling vomit. 

-Aaron White

Can alcohol signal any type of cancer?

-VanekB, Texas
Drinking a lot of alcohol over time increases your chances of developing cancers of the head, neck, mouth, throat, and breast. You can learn more about these risks at:http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/Hangovers/beyondHangovers.htm#cha...
-Aaron White

can alcoholism occur because of someone's personal choices and bad decisions over a period of time?

-jjones, Georgia

Alcoholism, and addiction in general, is a disease. Through scientific advances, we know more about how drugs and alcohol work in the brain than ever, and we also know that addiction can be successfully treated to help people live fulfilling lives. 

More here: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-abuse...

-Aaron White

Can animals be addicted to drugs?

-SerenaVW, Minnesota
Hi SerenaVW - Drugs can definitely affect animals. In fact, a lot of the research we support uses animals to examine the effects of drugs because animal brains are a good model for human brains. 

You should also check out this great blog by our very own Dr. Joe Frascella on drugs being "discovered" first by animals!  https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/so-why-do-people-drugs.

 
 
-Joni Rutter

Can animals get drugged?

-LaChabrah, Florida

Sure, their brains are a lot like ours. Drugs will impact thier brains much like ours.   The big difference is that animals can't choose to take drugs.
Dave

-Dave Thomas

can animals get high

-0137583, Florida

Hey this is a favorite question from you guys at Studies Prep Academy. Yes! In fact, most of the research done on drugs to help us understand how they work is done using animals that self-administer drugs of abuse.

-Joni Rutter

can animals get high?

-0206346, Florida

Hi 0206346/Internat. Studies Prep Academy. Yes! In fact, most of the research done on drugs to help us understand how they work is done using animals that self-administer drugs of abuse. 

-Joni Rutter

Can antidepressants be addicting?

-erisrael17, Minnesota

Hi Erisrael

Typical antidepressants work on the serotonin system and have little crossover to the dopamine system, which regulates pleasure. This is why antidepressants won't give you a high. as a consequence they are considered to have very low if any addiction potential.

thanks for the question and best of luck
  ruben

-Ruben Baler

Can any drugs make you go into a comma?

-lazysparkle, Maryland

Hey Sparkie.  
Depends on the drug, but sure, many can if one overdoses but survives.  It's better to stay away from drugs!   
Dave

-Dave Thomas

Can any of these drugs have the same or similar effect in other animals besides humans and rats?

-Sidney, Maryland

Yes Sidney, drugs have effects on all sorts of animals. We study humans, rats, mice, monkeys, voles, birds, worms, bees and flies, to name a few. The human brain is the most advanced, but we see similar effects of drugs across animal species.  

-Joni Rutter

Can anything other than booze get you drunk?

-DMassey, New Hampshire

Drunk is a term that generally only applies the effects of alcohol. 

-Aaron White