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Chapter 4: Use Rationalizations

Topics:  Inventing | One | Stress | Friend | Like | Little | Flavor | Coffee | Concentration | Boredom | Pleasure | Choice | Habit | Friendless | Healthy | Can't | Demons | Weight | Safer | Alcohol


"I'm just a little bit addicted"


DrugAbuse.gov July 2015 image of a woman vaping an e-cigarette

Nicotine diagnostic standards are reflected by official looking acronyms such as DSM-IV, FTND, MNWS, M-NRQ and HONC. These standards claim to measure the onset, existence or depth of nicotine dependency. But being a little bit addicted is like being a little bit pregnant.

It's normal to want to rationalize that we don't have a problem, or if we do that it's just a "nasty habit,"or if not, and we really are addicted, that we're just a little bit addicted, that it's itty-bitty.

It's normal to compare our situation with that of other drug or nicotine addicts, to rationalize that ours isn't nearly as bad.[122]

The easiest such minimization is to compare how frequently we use nicotine, our level of tolerance. But let's not kid ourselves. Whether our brain demands a single nicotine fix daily or twenty, having lost the autonomy to simply turn and walk away, why pretend superiority once a full-fledged addict?

Pretending superiority is a dependency minimization rationalization that helps keep millions trapped behind bars.

What's sad is that such junkie-thinking often keeps them using years longer than they otherwise would have, years of extra toxin and carcinogen assaults that will greatly elevate disease and death risks.

Likewise, while intitially the smoker who transfers to e-cigarettes experiences an increase in the number of times daily devoted to replenishment, it's common to see a use frequency decline once they adjust to the extra second or so needed to inhale a larger and longer lasting hit/bolus of nicotine.

The concern is that memory of their use frequency decline, coupled with any decline due to diminished physical tolerance to nicotine (possibly related to sugars also stimulating dopamine pathways) can fuel "I'm less addicted" use reasoning.

As with the smoker who smokes just a few daily, the e-cig user who combines "less addicted" with "less harm" thinking may substantially increase their level of contentment about continuing use.

The most obvious concern is that it will likely take decades before we appreciate the full spectrum of vaping risks, including risk associated with hourly inhaling a known cancer promoter - nicotine - into lungs already compromised by years of smoking.

Why gamble with our health or life? The prudent move is to look in the mirror and fully accept who we are: to see an honest-to-goodness drug addict looking back.



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References:

122. Craig, Kathleen, Not Much of a Smoker, originally posted at MSN's Freedom from Tobacco's on February 29, 2004, and today shared on Yuku's Freedom from Nicotine forum on the site's Rationalizations message board.



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Page created June 16, 2015 and last updated June 16, 2015 by John R. Polito