Smoking relieves stress?

The age old myth itself. Of nearly all the reasons that people begin to smoke there is one primary reason that they continue. Many would say that addiction to nicotine is what possesses people to continue down the path, but those are nonsmokers who are looking purely at the addictive properties contained within cigarettes. To obtain a true understanding of the situation smokers themselves must be brought in to question. They would nearly unanimously conclude that they, particularly more veteran smokers, continue because they believe it to relieve stress. When a situation presents itself that causes raised anxiety levels you better believe that person is reaching for their smokes. We see it in movies and everyday life. With regard to film; when we see a soldier recouperating after a battle in a Vietnam movie he’s not calling for the local psychologist, no, he’ll take those reds out and claim that it makes him feel better. Does it though? True it may make the person imbibing the smoke feel better at that moment, but what are the overall effects of cigarettes on stress?

Studies have shown that, despite what people say, smoking can actually cause increased stress levels within the body over a period of time. In several tests done people that managed to stay off of cigarettes after quitting had significantly lower stress levels than those that had continued without stopping. Therefore, cigarettes, and the nicotine contained within, do not reduce stress. The feeling of reduced stress associated with smoking is actually a relief of the symptoms of withdrawal that the smoker is feeling from his last cigarettes. Thus, the vicious cycle that traps the smoking population. Not only is nicotine itself addictive, but the smoker is now addicted to the idea that he or she is making himself feel better, which is simply not true.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/health/10real.html

http://www.stop-smoking-tips.com/effect-smoking-stress.html

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4 Responses to “Smoking relieves stress?”


  1. 1 french111 March 10, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    I’m not sure of this and only speculating, but could it be that the nicotine in the cigarettes relieves stress quicker than our bodies can. So for instance the soldier feels better immediately even though in the long run they have increased stress or that the nicotine just covers up the effects of stress. There are stories of soldiers in WWII who didn’t smoke until they were in the war and got stressed. In WWII there weren’t tours of duty, soldiers were overseas for years in the midst of battle, unlike today were soldiers return home after a tour. Cigarettes may have just been used by the soldiers as a short time stress relieving device. Again this is just speculation on my part.

  2. 2 David Lynch March 13, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    From my experience with smokers I would have to agree that it does, in the long run, have a positive relationship with stress levels. Although I never knew my step-dad before he smoked, when I met him, I noticed that he had an awfully short temper, in part due to his increased stress levels from smoking. After a few years I noticed that when he was irritated he would go outside and have a cigarette to “relax”.

    In time, his habits caught up to him and he became sick due to the smoking, so he quit…. after a couple months of no smoking, he always seemed much more relaxed and wasn’t quite as quick to get angry with those around him…

    So, if your a smoker… QUIT!

  3. 3 kristenlyon March 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    I never made the connection before that smoking, a potential physical chronic stressor is used to relieve stress. It’s ironic that many people use stressors to relieve stress. It is interesting to think about other examples of this. What causes us to be stressed (whether physically or psychologically) that we use to reduce stress?

  4. 4 eglundberg May 17, 2011 at 1:51 am

    Many of my family members have been smokers and have ended up quitting. Mainly my grandparents and older aunts and uncles have been smokers. They all have quit and have said that after quitting they were not as stressed as before because they weren’t wasting money on cigarette packs and lighters all the time anymore.
    It was actually really funny when my grandfather stopped smoking. He went to the doctor and the doctor told him that if he didn’t stop smoking then he would die, and my grandfather stopped smoking that day. Some people can’t quit cold turkey but my grandfather did and he’s still alive today!


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