Quitting

Cope with stress

Many people have a perception that smoking helps them deal with stress. After people quit, stress is often rated the number one reason that they go back to smoking. It’s therefore important to understand the association between smoking and stress, so you can find better ways to handle stress after quitting.

Stress and smoking

While the causes of stress are different for everyone, stress is a normal part of life and is difficult to completely avoid. But contrary to popular belief, smoking does not actually relieve stress, and in fact inflicts more tension and anxiety on the body.  When someone smokes, the nicotine reaches the brain, which releases the feel-good chemical dopamine. This causes feelings of pleasure and relaxation, which the body craves over and over. 

In reality, when you smoke, your body is actually experiencing increased blood pressure, heart rate, less oxygen and muscle tension. The perceived feelings of relaxation when you smoke are in fact relief from nicotine withdrawal in between cigarettes. 

Remember, smoking can’t solve the problem that’s giving you stress. But knowing what causes stress in your life can help you come up with a plan for relieving stress in more positive and healthy ways.