Does Smoking Cigarettes Relieve Stress?
Does smoking a cigarette relieve stress? So many smokers swear to the fact that smoking a cigarette calms their nerves and relieves stress. In times of stress or pressure a cigarette is the only thing that will make them stay calm. Is this true? Is there really a direct correlation between cigarette smoking and stress relief? The researcher does not believe this to be true. Cigarette smoking is not a tranquilizer that will calm you during a time of duress. Actually the opposite is true. The dependency on nicotine is the key to it. The lack of nicotine in your body causes the stress and the cigarette you smoke when you are stressed is only feeding your addiction not relieving stress.
According to Andy Parrott, a professor at the University of East London (1999), "stress levels of adult smokers are slightly higher than those of nonsmokers" (p. 817). All smokers have a slightly higher stress level than non-smokers. "Nicotine dependency seems to exacerbate stress"(Parrot, 1999, p. 817). Therefore smoking a cigarette during a stressful time does not actually relieve stress but it just reverses the feelings of tension and irritability that occur during nicotine withdrawal. Smokers that are addicted to nicotine need it just to feel a sense of normalcy. This gives the illusion that smoking a cigarette relieves stress but a non-smoker that smoked a cigarette during a time of stress would not feel calmer after smoking a cigarette.
Cigarette smokers also sometimes feel less stress after smoking a cigarette because of their expectations of the result of smoking a cigarette. It is essentially a placebo effect. Smokers believe that smoking a cigarette will relieve stress and in their minds at least, it does. Smokers are convinced that smoking will make them more at ease and relieve their tension. According to an experiment published by William G. Shadel (1993), smokers in a cessation program that had low...
References: Parrot, A. C. (1999, October). Does Cigarette Smoking Cause Stress. American Psychologist, 54(10), 817-820. Retrieved October 20, 2005, from http://journals.ohiolink.edu.proxy.libraries.uc.edu/cgi-bin/sciserv.pl?collection=journals&journal=0003066x&issue=v54i0010&article=817_dcscs&template=article.cite_and_bib
Shadel, W. G. (1993, November). Cigarette Smoking Under Stress: The Role of Coping Expectancies Among Smokers in a Clinic-Based Smoking Cessation Program. Health Psychology, 12(6), 443-450. Retrieved October 20, 2005, from http://journals.ohiolink.edu.proxy.libraries.uc.edu/cgi-bin/sciserv.pl?collection=journals&journal=02786133&issue=v12i0006&article=443_csus&search_term=%28%20%28smoking%20stress%29%20%29%20
Shiffman, S., & Waters, A. J. (2004, April). Negative Affect and Smoking Lapses: A Prospective Analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72(2), 192-201. Retrieved October 20, 2005, from http://journals.ohiolink.edu.proxy.libraries.uc.edu/cgi-bin/sciserv.pl?collection=journals&journal=0022006x&issue=v72i0002&article=192_naasl&search_term=%28%20%28smoking%20stress%20shiffman%29%20%29%20
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