Many people think that smoking cigarettes helps to calm them down. Nicotine is a stimulant and acts as a ‘pick-me-up’. It releases chemicals in your brain, called neurotransmitters, and it’s thought that these improve your mood and make you feel better.

However, these feelings usually only last for a short period of time because withdrawal from nicotine gradually makes you feel worse and your good mood is only restored when the craving is satisfied with another cigarette.

Smoking can increase anxiety

Smoking increases stress levels due to the constant need to top up nicotine levels. The problems with using smoking to cope with stress include:

  • relief is only temporary – stress will return and you’ll soon need to smoke another cigarette,
  • smoking does not solve your problems – it only hides them. The cause of the problem remains, and
  • smoking actually causes more stress than it relieves – scientific studies show that after giving up, stress levels decrease.

Your anxiety may be increased if you’re worrying about trying to give up smoking. You may feel irritable and stressed when you quit smoking, but it’s important to remember that this is a sign that your body is repairing itself from the effects of nicotine.

If smoking was your main way of coping with stress, after quitting you’ll need to find new, better ways of stress relief. Exercise, reading and relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, are good alternatives and will help you to take your mind off a stressful situation and improve your mood.




“…Used to be one of my favorite things”