A recent Canadian study has found evidence that illegal cigarettes are linked to teen use of other drugs.
When compared to those teens who do not smoke contraband cigarettes, the kids who do were found more likely to try other illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and amphetamines.
The researchers did not conclude that smoking illegal cigarettes leads to drug use. What they found is that there is a high incidence of them coinciding, and recommend stronger tobacco control policies.
“The concern for us is that contraband tobacco may be a gateway to other drugs, but we cannot infer causality,” said coauthor Mesbah F. Sharaf of the Economics Department at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
Contraband cigarettes in Canada are either illegally manufactured or illegally imported from Native American reservations across the US border.
“Here in Canada the contraband market is really substantial, almost 30 percent of tobacco sales in the whole country,” Sharaf told Reuters Health.