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Smoking to Relieve Tension or Improve Mood

Topic Overview

Ask yourself some questions to see whether you smoke to relieve tension, irritability, and stress or to improve your mood.

  • Does smoking a cigarette automatically come to mind when you are frustrated, angry, or sad?
  • Does smoking a cigarette calm you when you are upset?
  • Do you smoke more cigarettes when you are under stress?
  • If you tried to quit smoking in the past, did you miss smoking cigarettes the most during times of stress?

The stress relief you get from smoking comes from the act of taking time out to smoke a cigarette and from the chemical actions of nicotine in your brain. If you return to the scene of the stressful event after you finish your cigarette, it doesn't take long before the tension comes back and you need another cigarette.

Smoking is only a temporary solution for handling stress, tension, or depression. The only way to truly control the stress in your life is to identify what causes stress for you and learn how to change the way you react to stressful events and situations.

Credits

Current as of: July 4, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Michael F. Bierer, MD - Internal Medicine


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