Cigarette Smoking Causes Stress

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Cigarette Smoking Causes Stress

Postby kulsham » 09 May 2005, 18:02

Smokers experience more stress than non-smokers.
While cigarette smokers may say that the smoking habit helps them relieve stress, compelling medical and scientific evidence points to nicotine dependency as a cause of psychological stress, and those who do smoke consistently report higher levels of stress than their nonsmoking counterparts.
Nicotine Dependency Causes Stress

As early as the 1960s, studies of smokers showed that feelings of relaxation, pleasure, and calmness were associated with the act of smoking a cigarette. However, surveys of smokers also show a great variety of mood fluctuations during the day, with a buildup of negative emotions and psychological stress in the intervals between cigarettes.

These mood changes are strongest in the most "dependent" or nicotine-addicted smokers. Interestingly, studies of self-reported stress levels in smokers confirm that their stress levels are higher than those of nonsmokers during periods of abstinence, and only upon smoking a cigarette do their moods and stress levels return to normal.

Instead of a relaxation "plus" or benefit, therefore, smoking seems to be only capable of normalizing the negative emotions and feelings that build up with nicotine dependence.
The repeated experience of heightened stress between cigarettes means that smokers tend to experience slightly above-average levels of daily stress, and the need for cigarettes increases in order to return stress levels to normal.

Survey studies further support the theory of nicotine dependency as a cause of stress. In a 1998 survey of male shift workers, those who smoked cigarettes reported significantly higher levels of self-rated stress than did the nonsmokers during both day and night shifts.

Teen Smokers Also Feel More Stress

Numerous studies of teen smokers confirm that regular smoking is associated with elevated stress levels. Adolescents in Britain, Canada, and the United States who smoke regularly or heavily all report greater feelings of stress and negative moods than teens who do not smoke. The researchers found that as the teens progressed from experimental or occasional smokers to regular smokers, their stress levels increased correspondingly.

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