Reduce Stress by Stopping Smoking

Blog Post created by dr_hays on Feb 24, 2016

Many people struggle with setting a quit date as they feel it is not the right time for them to stop.  With the many demands our world places on us with jobs, family, children, and just taking care of the day-to-day chores of home, it is no wonder that folks feel stressed and when even contemplating a quit date.  However, I do hear from people that when they quit smoking they surprisingly notice their life has become less stressful.  Why is that?


Well, physiologically, when one puffs on a cigarette, a large dose of nicotine is delivered to the brain in just 7-10 seconds.  This dose of nicotine causes the release of hormones such as adrenaline which causes a transient increase in heart rate and blood pressure which is compounded by the fact that a smoker takes so many puffs per cigarette, and smokes multiple cigarettes per day.  Over time of course, dependence can develop.  Over time, that pleasurable treat of a cigarette here and there turns into a stressful cycle of keeping withdrawal symptoms at bay.


Now that many public areas are smoke-free, smoking can be stressful just because a person who smokes has to plan their day to make sure that they are able to find a place and time to smoke.


Thus, instead of alleviating stress, smoking can create more stress!  It is not surprising that when a smoker stops, stress levels go down.  Once nicotine withdrawal is over (usually after 2-4 weeks), staying quit feels a bit more manageable.   


Ask an ex-smokers who no longer need to plan their life around their smoking, “are you as stressed now as you were when smoking?”  They can shop, go to a feature length movie, and play with grandchildren for as long as they want without needing to satisfy their cravings for a cigarette.  Also, many find that after they have quit smoking, when stressful events happen (as they inevitably do), they are able to deal with them better, and more calmly than when they were reaching for the cigarette. 


If you are new to this site, stick around for the discussion in the comments.  That is where most of the magic happens – one person supporting another, one day at a time.