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Smoking to Relieve Tension or Improve Mood

Ask yourself some questions to see whether you smoke to relieve tension, irritability, and stress or to improve your mood.

  • Does smoking a cigarette automatically come to mind when you are frustrated, angry, or sad?
  • Does smoking a cigarette calm you when you are upset?
  • Do you smoke more cigarettes when you are under stress?
  • If you tried to quit smoking in the past, did you miss smoking cigarettes the most during times of stress?

The stress relief you get from smoking comes from the act of taking time out to smoke a cigarette and from the chemical actions of nicotine in your brain. If you return to the scene of the stressful event after you finish your cigarette, it doesn't take long before the tension comes back and you need another cigarette.

Smoking doesn't really make stress, tension, or depression go away. The only way to truly control the stress in your life is to identify what causes stress for you and learn how to change the way you react to stressful events and situations.

  • For tips on how to better manage stress in your life, see the topic Stress Management.
  • For more information on coping with depression, see the topic Depression.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJohn Hughes, MD - Psychiatry
Last RevisedJuly 6, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 06, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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