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 juuls better or worse the cigarettes

-AG, New Hampshire

Hi, AG - Many vaping liquids, like those found in Juul, contain nicotine, which is one of the most addictive substances. Using Juuls may cause some people to start using regular cigarettes, which can then cause cancer. So, 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! Check out FDA's “The Real Cost” campaign, which provides information about tobacco.

-Heather Kimmel

are juuls better or worse then cigarettes

-AG, New Hampshire

Hi AG.,

There is no safe tobacco product, especially for teens. Both cigarettes and vapes can deliver cancer-causing chemicals into your lungs, and both can also expose you to nicotine, which can disrupt your brain development. According to the manufacturer, a single JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes. Nicotine is harmful to the developing brain because it can change your brain and lead to nicotine addiction. You can get more facts about e-cigarettes by visiting:

-Suzanne Lim

Are juuls more addictive than vapes or traditional cigs?

-dmcnamara, Arizona

Hey there dmcnamara.

We can't state definitively that JUUL is more addictive. But we are really concerned about the very high levels of nicotine in JUUL compared to other vapes. And the reports we've seen of individual teenagers clearly showing signs of addiction are very disturbing.

One thing we're trying to do at FDA is get compelling information into the hands of kids who are walking around thinking e-cigarettes don't carry any risk. Check out our Real Cost E-cigarette campaign at this website:

-Mitch Zeller

Are males or females more apt to drinking to much and getting "sick"?

-SE, Montana

Interesting question! Scientists have found that it really depends. Females tend to be smaller than males and have less water in their bodies. As a result, females tend to get more alcohol into their blood and brains when they drink, which can lead to bigger impairments in memory, balance, etc. More men have alcohol use disorders. But women who have alcohol use disorders tend to get worse more quickly. Females also exhibit more brain damage from drinking, more damage to the liver and other organs, and have a higher chance of developing cancers and other diseases as a result of drinking.

-Steve Gust

are medical drugs made safer or healthier than other drugs

-Who am I, Illinois

Hi Who am I! Medical drugs are tested extensively to ensure that they produce the most benefits to the patient while reducing unwanted side-effects, and are therefore healthier than drugs of abuse, when used as prescribed. However, sometimes drugs can have unintended consequences, like with prescription pain-killers that were intended to treat pain but were found to make people develop substance use disorders. You can find more information on these here.

-Vani Pariyadath

are nicotine and caffeine similar?

-anicola, Illinois

Hey anicola! Nicotine and caffeine are both considered stimulants, or drugs that activate the sympathetic nervous system and cause an increase in heart rate and breathing rate.

-Emily Einstein

are peoplee that do drugs are stupid

-JM, Montana

Hi - this is a great question. People use drugs for lots of different reasons, such as peer pressure, boredom, rebellion, curiosity, and so on. People can know drugs are bad for them, but they may still choose to take the risk, while others may not be aware of all the risks. Then, once they're hooked, it can be very difficult to stop. Check out one of NIDA's Drug and Health Blog posts about peer pressure here:

There is also a lot of information about the health effects of drugs on NIDA's teen site here:

-Kristen Huntley

Are plant based drugs better than chemically made drugs?

-Captain Obama , Illinois

Hi Captain Obama! Nope, nothing special about plants versus synthesized drugs. Depends on the drug and not where the drug came from.

-Suzanne Lim

Are psilocybin mushrooms really the safest drug?

-sssssssssssssss, Illinois

Hi sssssssssssss
There really are no safe drugs. It is true that psilocybin like most hallucinogens is not powerfully habit forming and, almost by definition, a non-addictive drug. It belongs to class of drugs that do not interact with the dopamine or reward (pleasure) system in the brain. However, this does not mean that it is a safe drug; psilocybin can cause nervousness, paranoia, and panic attacks. It's a bad idea to introduce any psychoactive drug in a devloping brain, its effects are really unpredictable.
Be smart and stay healthy.

-Aaron White

Are psychedelics harmful?

-shmo, Illinois

Hi shmo - I'm glad that you're thinking about this and thanks for asking. Psychedelic drugs can cause you to have terrifying thoughts, elevated stress and out of control scary feelings. You can become dizzy and have trouble sleeping. You may feel paranoid and lose control of yourself! Psychedelics, or any kind of illegial drug, can hijack your brain from working normally. Check out this fact sheet for more info:

-Kris Bough

Are some people have more risk of drugs and alcohol than others?


Great question about risk for drugs and alcohol. There are multiple factors that can increase a person's risk for using drugs and alcohol. Research has shown that some of the factors can be biological, psychological, behavioral, or environmental. Often it is not one particular factor, but we do know that early experimentation with substances can increase risk for later use. A number of prevention interventions have been developed to prevent initation of substance use and prevent those who've experimented with drugs to progress from use to misuse.

Here's a great resource that talks about what makes some more likely to use drugs:

-Belinda Sims

Are some people more at risk of addiction to drugs and alcohol than others?

-Julia, Maryland

Hello Julia,

Yes, they are. The problem is, we don't have a way to know who's at risk for having a problem with different types of drugs. All illegal drugs and many others (like prescription drugs) have the potential for addiction and they can all alter the way your brain functions -- which puts you at risk of injury or injuring others. Check out this information about addiction and the brain:


-Roger Little

Can you be addicted to tylonol

-Holden McGroin, Maryland

I don't think you can become addicted to Tylenol in the same way you can become addicted to drugs like cocaine or alcohol. But regular use of Tylenol for pain can be a problem. Tylenol can cause liver damage and other health problems when used at high doses and/or for long periods of time. If you've been using Tylenol regularly, talk to a doctor or a trusted adult about why you're using it. They may be able to help you find safer alternatives.

-Joshua Gordon

can you be alergic to marihuana??


Hi betis
what a great question!!!!
The answer is a definte YES. Allergies to marijuana have been described. The symptoms range from simple rhinoconjunctivitis to anaphylactic-type reactions, some of which can be severe and even fatal.
thanks for the interest. stay smart. stay safe

-Ruben Baler

can you be allergic to alcohol or drugs?

-annie cedros ,

Hi annie -- If you mean do some people have bad reactions to drugs, the answer is yes. For example, some people smoke marijuana and react with a horrible psychosis, where they hallucinate (see things that are not there). It can be very upsetting to the person. In general, the worst risk of using drugs is addiction, not allergies. In that sense, people should act as if they are allergic, and stay away from them.

-Meyer Glantz

Can you cancel out the effect of one drug by taking another-upper vs. downers

-nico, California

Hello Nico,
Mixing drugs is even more dangerous than taking them singly. Sometimes the combined effects are not predictable, and, rather than canceling each other out, as you suggest, they might be synergistic multiplying each other's effects. This can happen with alcohol and opioids, or alcohol and benzodiazepines. It is best to not mix any drugs.

-Steve Gust

Can you cancel out the effect of one drug taking another? Uppers and downers at the same time?

-JR, California

Hi Jaime,
Not really... You can get some crazy interactions. For example, some people drink coffee to overcome being drunk, but you do not get sober from coffee. You mostly get a more alert drunk person. Where you do get an opposite effect is with an antagonist like naloxone (aka Narcan). Naloxone can reverse the effects of opioids. That is why it is used to reverse opioid overdoses.

-Marsha Lopez

Can you cure depression without using drugs?


Yes, some people respond very well to certain types of "talk therapy" or even to other less conventional approaches like exercise. But if you have a serious problem, its important to see a professional to determine what's most appropriate for you.

-Susan Weiss

Can you die from consuming too much marihuana?


Hi Tripode! This is a good question. In general, people will not die from marijuana overdose. However, if someone is smoking marijuana for a prolonged period, there could be bad lung effects from marijuana use. Marijauna can also affect learning and memory especially in young users whose brains aren't fully developed. Hope this information helps!

-Michelle Leff

can you die from heroine?

-TH , Montana

Hi tharrington - great question. You can definitely die from heroin (overdose). Heroin is one of many chemicals that are known as opioids. Heroin is made from morphine, a compound taken from the poppy plant. Heroin can have very serious effects on the body. For the first several hours after taking heroin, people want to sleep, and their heart rate and breathing slow down. If you take more, your heart rate and breathing further slow down. You could go into a coma or die from an overdose. For more information, see

-Emily Einstein

can you die from nicotine

-spoodey, Illinois

Hi spoodey! Nicotine is the addictive component of cigarettes and e-cigs. Yes, you can die of smoking. In fact, smoking is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking results in more than 480,000 premature deaths in the United States each year—about 1 in every 5 U.S. deaths, or 1,300 deaths every day. This is personally an important question to me because I lost my mother and one of my sisters due to their lung cancer caused by being a lifetime tobacco smoker. So, if you haven't started, don't, and if you do smoke, stop. If you've tried and can't stop, check out some resources here. Help is just a text away! Sign up at or text “QUIT” to “iQUIT” (47848) and provide the date you smoked last.

-Heather Kimmel

can you die from smoking too much weed

-wonder woman, Illinois

Hi wonder woman - While it's unlikely you would die from just smoking weed, you could get behind the wheel intoxicated and be injured or killed in an accident. See this link for more information -- Marijuana can also cause a variety of health effects, including learning, attention and memory problems, increased heart rate, anxiety, paranoia, and even psychosis in some cases.

-Suzanne Lim

Can an overdose of drugs lead to suicide?

-chamness_a, Oregon

Illicit drugs raise the risk of suicide, and it doesn't take an overdose for this to happen. More than half of people who die by suicide have alcohol or drugs in their blood at the time of death! If you are already depressed or having suicidal thoughts, get help and don't use drugs or alcohol. If you have suicidal thoughts while taking a drug, stop taking the drug, and get help right away from a friend or trusted adult. People having suicidal thoughts can also get help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) anytime, 24/7 (you'll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area).

-Joshua Gordon


-chamness_a, Oregon

Yes, anybody can fall into peer pressure, especially teens who are more vulnerable to peer influences. It is important to have friends and peers who support your healthy behavior, especially when others pressure you into unhealthy behaviors.

-Carlos Blanco

can anyone fall into peer pressure?

-chamness_a, Oregon

Yes, anybody can fall into peer pressure, especially teens who are more vulnerable to peer influences. It is important to have friends and peers who support your healthy behavior, especially when others pressure you into unhealthy behaviors.

-Carlos Blanco

Can babies get addicted to drugs?


Hey Rag!
No, not really. Babies cannot get addicted. Addiction is compulsive use despite harm. Babies to not compulsively use drugs. However, if babies are born to mothers that use opioids, they can be born with dependence on opioids, meaning they will go through physical withdraw without opioids. This is a very sad situation, and we are trying to find ways to help these babies.

-Dave Thomas

Can being fat be somehow related to adictions?

-El Chamaco,

Hi Chamaco
such a great question. I have even published several papers that explore the overlaps between obesity and addiction. they are not the same but they do have similarities. If this connection worries you, you should consult your primary physician who would be in the best position to diagnose and treat any mental or physical disorder.
Thanks for the interest and best luck to you.

-Ruben Baler

can certain drugs enhance human abilities

-default skin, Illinois

Hi default
great question. the answer is yes. But as you know, there is no free lunch. Anabolic steroids, for example, can shorten the recovery time between training sessions, but they can also stunt your growth and shrink your testicles. Some stimulants may allow you to cram for an exam but they will also reduce your creativity. So, it is important to become informed and ask the right questions.
Thanks for your interest
Use your superpower, choose smartly.

-Ruben Baler

can cigarettes cause popcorn lung too?

-JS, Illinois

Thank you for joining us, James!. "Popcorn lung" is another name for a disease called bronchiolitis obliterans, which makes you cough and feel short of breath. Workers at a popcorn factory were found to have this disease more than other people, and it turned out that the cause was a chemical called diacetyl. This chemical is also present in many vaping liquids, which is a cause for concern. The contents in vaping devices are not regulated, so it's impossible for a user to know what he or she is vaping. Although this chemical is also present in cigarette smoke, it's not clear whether it can cause popcorn lung, though cigarette smoke has been linked to COPD and lung cancer. Check out these resources on tobacco:

-Dave Thomas

Does smoking marijuana cause cancer?

-Wiley Wildcat, Illinois

Hey Wiley- It's actually still not known whether smoking marijuana leads to lung cancer. However, there does appear to be a link between marijuana use in adolescence and increased risk for an aggressive form of testicular cancer. 

-Emily Einstein