Free Essay. Use of Alcohol and Tobacco As a Stepping Stone to Harder Drugs

Published: 2023-03-16
Free Essay. Use of Alcohol and Tobacco As a Stepping Stone to Harder Drugs
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Case study Substance abuse Drug abuse
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1820 words
16 min read

Alcohol consumption and the use of tobacco are drugs that have been used over the years. Governments through different agencies have put in place mechanisms to ensure that the use of tobacco and alcohol is regulated. In most countries, drink and cigar are not to be sold to persons under the age of 18 years. Smoke contains nicotine, a substance that leads to addiction among tobacco users. Alcohol abuse will result in a condition referred to as alcoholism, a circumstance where an individual show high alcohol dependency syndrome. Alcohol will lead to a change in psychological setup. Mood and body changes are also common among alcohol users. Excessive use will lead to liver complications, gastrointestinal complications or even death.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

There is a high correlation between harder drug users and alcohol and tobacco use. Drug users are likely to keep a close company with other drug users, as use of drugs become a social engagement. As a results persons previously using alcohol and tobacco find themselves inducted using harder drugs such as cannabis, heroin, and cocaine. Most alcohol will cause addiction resulting in a tolerance effect where one craves higher doses of a drug to achieve an impact that was previously performed on lower doses. Consequently, individuals begin desiring other medicines that produce a higher effect.

In medical research conducted in the US alcohol and tobacco use account for the highest threat to human health midst of all addictive affluence. Data collected in the study show that alcohol and tobacco account for a hundred and thirty-three deaths per hundred thousand deaths recorded. In the same report deaths from cocaine are seven per hundred thousand deaths recorded (Thompson, 2018). The statement auxiliary demonstrates that twenty percent of the earth's population uses alcohol, while fifteen percent use tobacco. Due to the widespread use of the two drugs and their addictive nature, it is hard to treat due to addiction and relapse tendencies.

Studies show that a significant number of people consuming hard drugs began with alcohol and cigarette. Among the youth, peer pressure has been accused of having a hand in luring young people into drugs. Alcoholics develop tolerance after using alcohol for some time; if the person fails to get drink into their systems, they will likely attempt to try out other drugs. At that moment, abuse of drugs is linked to behavior patterns. Drug users are probably finding themselves in a place where drugs are readily available from the company they keep.

Literature Review

The literature review examines associated research work to formulate a roadmap that will lead the learning towards attaining set purposes. Theoretical statements are appraised to support the hypothesis outlined in the study. The empirical review has focused on related work from different authors that have sought to look into the relationship between the use of tobacco and alcohol and other hard drugs.

Theoretical Review

Stepping-stone theory is a hypothesis that argues that the use of psychoactive drugs is likely to increase the chances of using harder drugs. The assumption is based on the fact that the first use of drugs will cause biological changes in the body the user, especially the brain, and as a result, a user will develop a liking attitude towards other drugs (Anthony, 2012). Longitudinal studies on drug users are seen to support the hypothesis. The objective of this study was to identify whether the use of alcohol and tobacco are likely to lead the user to progress to harder drugs. The propositions in the study will help in basing the arguments in the study.

Empirical Review

Myers & Kelly (2006) conducted a study that sought to find out the origin of the use of drugs among adolescents. The target population was high school students aged 14-18 years. The study identified peer pressure and exposure as the core reason behind the progression of drug use. The further inquiry identified alcohol and tobacco as the gateway to drugs, where nearly every respondent under drug use classified alcohol and cigarette as the first drug they used. It was also noted that frequent users of tobacco are at a greater risk of abusing cannabis Sativa at a later point. The behavior patterns of adolescents were also analyzed. Users of alcohol and tobacco were, to a greater extent, likely to engage in unacceptable behaviors.

A study conducted by Kirby & Barry (2012) sought to analyze the possibility of alcohol as a gateway drug. The study pursued the statement that the use of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana serves as a platform for advancing to harder drugs. The target population was 12th-grade students in the united states. The study was quantitative in nature, where data was on drug use was analyzed on a Guttman scale. Scalability and reliability tests were conducted before a chi-square test to evaluate the relationship between the use of tobacco and alcohol and the abuse of hard drugs. The findings of the study revealed that, to a great extent, students that used alcohol had a higher possibility of consuming illicit and licit drugs.

According to Barry et al. (2016), there exists a relationship between the age of the first drink and the use of illicit drugs. In a study that involved 2335 12th-grade students in the United States, the research sought to know when students engaged in first substance abuse. Further, the study also tried to find the order in which adolescents progressed from alcohol and tobacco to the use of other drugs. The study investigated the impact of age at which a drug user gets initiated on repeated use. The study found out that alcohol was the first drug used by respondents before tobacco and marijuana. Also, individuals who started using tobacco in sixth grade were likely to progress to using illicit drugs.

In a study conducted in France, adolescents are seen to engage in the use of alcohol and tobacco than they used to in the 1990s, (Cheron-Launay, Baha, Mautrait, Lagrue, & Faou, 2011). Further probe revealed that fifty percent of the adolescents combine the use of alcohol and tobacco with other harder drugs. Consumption of alcohol is addictive due to tendencies of tolerance, so is tobacco due to dependency on nicotine. The research involved 149 boys and 151 girls who were aged between fifteen to sixteen years. The outcome of the study revealed that 34 percent of the respondents smoked daily, interestingly 38 percent of the respondents were found to have used marijuana at least once in their lifetime. Those found to have used marijuana admitted to having used tobacco before.

Fairman & Anthony (2018) were determined to find out whether the use of cigarettes leads to the smoking of cannabis. The study targeted youths between the age of 12 to 21 years. A sample of 4868 was selected from the targeted population in the US. The education was operationalized by subjecting the study data to a hypothesis at a 95 percent confidence level. The test outcome revealed that during the onset of smoking cigarettes, a user is likely to smoke marijuana than when using tobacco.

Research Gap

Several studies have been conducted around the area of drug abuse. Medical research has shown the extent of damage the use of drugs can have on the user. Various writers have termed the use of alcohol and tobacco as the stepping stone to the use of hard drugs. The use of alcohol and tobacco has been on the rise among the youth. However, many studies have failed to structure research allowing the inquiry to investigate the three statements hypothesized.

Research Hypotheses

The following hypothesis guided the study

  • Theory 1: There lacks a significant relationship between the use of tobacco and alcohol, leading to the use of hard drugs in users of different ages.
  • Hypothesis 2: There lacks a significant relationship between the age of first use of alcohol and progressing to different forms of harder drugs.
  • Hypothesis 3: There lacks a significant relationship between the age on initial use of tobacco and lifetime frequency of substance abuse

Research Methodology

Research design is a blueprint that guides the study. The research has formulated three hypotheses to be tested using quantitate data. The study is a correlation in nature as it looks to establish relationships amongst varied sets of variables. The study adopts a realism paradigm where it seeks to obtain facts on the subject of research as objectivity takes center stage CITATION CRK14 \l 1033 (Kothari & Garg, 2014). Mono quantitative method will be used to collect the information from the case study, followed by data analysis.

Purpose, Design, & Procedure

The instrument of research was a questionnaire that was administered to all the respondents. The structure of the survey included a biodata section where details of age and gender were captured. The other questions were centered on the three hypotheses under review. After data collection sorting and coding of the data was done before analysis. Statistical tools were employed in data analysis. Descriptive statistics were used to display various characteristics of the collected data. On the other hand, hypothesis testing was done by applying the analysis of variance.


The study target was to obtain responses from youth aged 25 to 34 years. Respondents included 2353 males and 2761 females.

Frequency Percentage Cumulative Percentage

Valid Male 2353 46 46

Female 2761 54 100

Total 5114 100


Statistical elements will be quantified in the questionnaire. Age, gender, and revelation of drug use are captured in numerical form to allow simplicity in the analysis. The data obtained were sorted, summarized, and fed to statistical software.


Descriptive Statistic

All the questionnaires issued were received for analysis. The age distribution of the respondents was as follows; age 28, 29, 30, and 31 took 17 percent each, age 27 took 14 while age 26 took 9 percent. The rest of the eras represented appeared for less than 1 percent. A question on whether the respondent has smoked an entire cigarette, a total of 3293 respondents answered yes, while 1821 respondents did not answer. At the same time, respondents were asked of the age they had their first alcoholic drink; a total of 4038 answers were received. 1077 responded answered to the question of whether they have engaged in harder drugs past the 12th grade.

On the question, when the respondents smoked an entire cigar; 9.6 percent of the respondents had smoked before they were 12 years old while 13 percent smoked at the age of 13 and 14. 18 percent of the respondents admitted to smoking the first cigar in the age of 15 to 16 years as 13 percent had their first cigar in the age of 19 and older. A comparison of the ages when respondents had their first drink of alcohol shows that ages between 5 years to 11 years had less than one percent of the responded at each age. The majority of the respondents had their first alcoholic drink at the age of 15 years, which captures 13.4 percent. It is then followed age 18 years at eleven percent, followed by 10 percent who were aged 15 years. A total of 4028 responses were received, 41 respondents registered as I don't know, the remaining 1027 skipped the question. Data on the use of harder drugs have been presented where a total of 1077 respondents answered the question as 4035 respondents shied off.

Cite this page

Free Essay. Use of Alcohol and Tobacco As a Stepping Stone to Harder Drugs. (2023, Mar 16). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism