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Am I drug-free even though I vape? By Ron Alexander

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In 1994, I quit using drugs and began my recovery journey. I stopped using all mood-altering substances except for nicotine.

We generally do not consider nicotine to be a drug when, in fact, nicotine is a stimulant that speeds messages traveling between the brain and body.

Nicotine is a dangerous and highly addictive chemical. It causes an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, the flow of blood to the heart, and the narrowing of the arteries that carry blood.

Nicotine also contributes to the hardening of the arterial walls, which in turn may lead to heart attack.

Nicotine, tobacco's primary active compound, lowers the perception of pain and physical stress by reducing the amount of the neurotransmitter dopamine broken down by neurons in the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain behind the forehead.

And so nicotine affects the brain in similar ways similar to using heroin, cocaine, and marijuana.

But nicotine is far more dangerous than other drugs because nicotine is legal.

I’ve kicked cocaine, and yet I’ve been unable to kick nicotine. The effects of nicotine have proven to be far more difficult to quit than cocaine.

The big picture and question is, can I truly call myself clean and drug-free when I am persistently smoking cigarettes or vaping?  

I have known people who have stopped using drugs and alcohol, only to die from lung cancer.

The classic definition of being an addict is continuing to use substances despite consequences.

I smoke cigarettes and vape because nicotine calms my anxieties and nerves. I smoke despite the consequences.

Please help me out.

Am I still an addict because I can’t stop smoking cigarettes?

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