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, or vapes with nicotine, 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 or vape, your body is actually experiencing increased blood pressure and heart rate, less oxygen, and tense muscles. The perceived feelings of relaxation when you smoke are in fact relief from nicotine withdrawal in between cigarettes.

Remember, smoking and vaping cannot solve the problem that is giving you stress. Knowing what causes stress in your life can help you come up with a plan for relieving stress in more positive and healthy ways.

Tips for Coping with Stress

Smoking and stress are part of a vicious cycle that keeps many people trapped from moving forward. Finding new ways of managing stress is vital for your long term quit success.


Find what works for you

Aside from smoking or vaping, what do you do when you are upset to calm down?

How do you take care of yourself when you are feeling less than your best?

Some people find that going for a brisk walk, doing deep breathing exercises, or talking to a friend can help manage stress.


Common techniques to reduce stress

A few ways that might help you manage your stress include:

  • Practice deep breathing exercises
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat healthier foods
  • Talk it out
  • Spend time with supportive people
  • Listen to music
  • Treat yourself
  • Use visualization or meditation techniques
  • Address conflict head on
  • Learn more ways to relax that work for you

Get support

You do not have to bear stress alone. Talk to a Quit Coach if you are experiencing stress while trying to quit, or consider talking to a health care provider for additional support. You can also call the crisis line for immediate support and guidance when experiencing stress.

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