What was the reason you first smoked a cigarette? It probably wasn’t for relaxation or stress relief.
Most smokers claim that the ‘high’ that comes from smoking helps to relieve them of their daily stresses, but the ‘lightheadedness’ actually comes from inhaling thousands of chemicals, 69 of which are carcinogenic.
Smoking doesn’t help you relax. What you’re actually feeling is temporary relief from nicotine withdrawal. Basically, smoking is giving you temporary relief from itself.
In today’s post, we’ll explain how smoking is actually the primary source and cause of stress for many smokers.
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Relief from Nicotine Addiction
If you’ve smoked cigarettes for a long time, especially if you’re over 40 and still smoking, your body has a high dependence on nicotine already.
Your body immediately notices if it has an inadequate supply of nicotine, urging you to light up a cigarette after you eat, while having coffee, or in any activity you associate with smoking.
During work, for example, your body knows that you’ve gone about 2 to 4 hours straight without lighting a cigarette. Cravings can become extremely intense in this time, leaving you feeling highly stressed and anxious until you get a chance to race outside, light up, and remedy these feelings with the actual cause of them.
Without cigarettes, you won’t have the addiction to nicotine that causes these distressing feelings in the first place.
So, the best stress and anxiety reliever is to quit the habit for good.
Physical and Psychological Stress
Nicotine craving is one source of distress among smokers – another is the effects of smoking on your blood pressure, heart rate, and adrenaline.
If you feel your head is throbbing or your pulse is racing quite fast for no reason, it’s probably because of smoking.
Smoking is a primary cause of high blood pressure because its chemicals produce plaque that narrows and blocks your arteries, causing your heart rate and blood pressure to rise.
Cigarettes also cause your adrenaline to rise. Nicotine might not physically endanger you, but your addiction to it and its effects on your adrenaline levels increase your risk of health issues the longer you keep smoking.
Studies have shown that the ‘kick’ nicotine gives your body is the release of adrenaline in your system. A relaxed body doesn’t have high blood pressure and adrenaline levels – you’ll relax better if you just kick smoking out of your life.
Mental Health Risk
Depending on nicotine to relieve yourself from stress can affect your mental well-being. The anxiety from nicotine cravings and the use of cigarettes to relieve depression and stress doesn’t solve the underlying causes of these two problems.
While smokers below their thirties might not feel the effects of cortical thinning, smokers over their 40s and beyond are likely to experience the brunt of it.
Cortical thinning is dangerous to older adults – it has been associated with the worsening of depressive illnesses, such as schizophrenia, mania, and other mental health issues.
If you want to still remember the joyful and memorable times in your life as you age, it’s probably time to quit smoking for good, especially as you age.
Physical Health Risks
Smoking is a major cause of many physical health risks, including slow healing and rapid skin ageing.
Of course, you’ve probably already seen some of the diseases you can contract if you don’t quit smoking. Much of the restrictive cigarette packaging today shows grotesque photos of heart diseases, lung cancers, strokes, and more.
Once you’ve broken your addiction to smoking, you’ll finally realise the full danger of these diseases on display, and it should motivate you enough to kick the habit out for good.
It’s Easier to Quit Today
Now that you know how smoking is the source of your stress and anxiety and is extremely dangerous to your health, you’re hopefully motivated to stop smoking. Luckily, it’s much easier to stop smoking today because of many supportive communities, professionals, and tools to help you quit.
Plus, quitters immediately reap the benefits of stopping. In as little as 6 days, you can see massive health improvements you wouldn’t have thought possible after a short period.
Here are a few reasons why stopping smoking is easier nowadays.
Professionals have helped thousands of ex-smokers successfully quit with their custom-made smoking cessation plans tailored to their individual needs.
Based on your previous smoking history, they can schedule out the right amount of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to keep withdrawal symptoms and cravings at bay, or even prescribe nicotine vaping products (NVPs) from pharmacies if NRT products aren’t quite doing the trick.
More About NRT products
NRT products are meant to cushion your nicotine withdrawal as you stop smoking. Your body ingests plenty of nicotine with each cigarette, and every gum, lozenge, inhaler, and other NRT product has a small amount of nicotine to help wean you off it gradually. For many smokers, NRT products work very well for their nicotine withdrawals and cravings.
More About NVPs
GPs also acknowledge that some smokers could have many triggers that can easily urge them to smoke. It could be the hand-to-mouth gesture of smoking, the throat hit of each puff, or simply needing something to use while having a drink with friends.
NVPs sold in pharmacies are specifically designed to replicate the ‘action’ of smoking, but without the hazardous and carcinogenic chemicals found in cigarette smoke.
Even as a second-line solution (meaning they may be prescribed after NRT has failed), the latest Cochrane Review found high-certainty evidence that NVPs are more effective than NRT in helping people stop smoking.
But, do keep in mind that there are vast differences in the health and safety of NVPs sold legally in pharmacies compared to the illegal ones sold under the counter in corner stores and tobacconists.
NVP products sold in pharmacies are made under stringent pharmaceutical standards on the manufacturing process and ingredients, are toxicologically assessed for inhalation, are locally insured, and are specifically designed to help you stop smoking.
Most smokers mistake the relaxing feeling after smoking as a relief from their everyday stressors. However, they must realise that their nicotine withdrawals and cravings are the primary cause of their stress and anxiety. By quitting smoking, they can truly find a safe, effective, and healthy way to find relaxation and peace of mind.
You’re probably reading this post because you’re thinking how smoking helps you relax. We hope you found the information useful. If you’re trying to quit, you’re in the best place right now to learn more and find support.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to bulk-billing Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good, including using responsible vaping products where appropriate.
Click here to book your bulk-billed telehealth consultation with an Australian healthcare professional and quit smoking today.