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  1. 1. That Cigarette You Smoke to Relieve Stress May Be Causing the Stress <br /> <br />Studies Show Tobacco Use Does Not Alleviate Stress But Actually Increases It <br />Washington - If you smoke to reduce stress, you are only adding to your stress, according to a new review of psychological studies in the October issue of the American Psychological Association's American Psychologist. Psychologist Andy Parrott, Ph.D., of the University of East London says the evidence shows that the apparent relaxant effect of smoking only reflects the reversal of the tension and irritability that develop during nicotine depletion. Far from acting as an aid for mood control, nicotine dependency seems to increase stress. <br />Professor Parrott reviewed studies on the smoking/stress relationship, first in adult smokers, then in novice adolescent smokers and lastly during smoking cessation. For adult smokers, the research shows that the positive mood changes experienced during smoking may only reflect the reversal of unpleasant abstinence effects. "Regular smokers, therefore, experience periods of heightened stress between cigarettes, and smoking briefly restores their stress levels to normal," said Professor Parrott. "However, soon they need another cigarette to forestall abstinence symptoms from developing again. The repeated occurrence of negative moods between cigarettes means that smokers tend to experience slightly above-average levels of daily stress. Thus, nicotine dependency seems to be a direct cause of stress." <br />Turning to smoking initiation and stress during adolescence, Professor Parrott says the evidence shows that novice smokers report increasing stress as they develop regular patterns of smoking. A study of Canadian school children found that regular and heavy smokers reported significantly higher stress than did non-smokers. In a study of American adolescents, the teenagers were asked about their smoking behavior and feeling states over the previous two years. The findings indicated there was an increase in affective distress as the adolescents moved from experimental to more regular smoking. <br />And reviewing the evidence surrounding smoking cessation and stress, Professor Parrott says studies show that quitting smoking reduces stress. In a review of cross-sectional studies, the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that former smokers were found to be less stressed than current smokers in some studies, whereas in other studies the two groups did not differ significantly. However, not a single study found former smokers to be more stressed than current smokers. <br />So why do smokers feel stressed without nicotine? Professor Parrott says there seems to be two possible answers. First, smokers may be more neurotic. A number of studies have found above-average neuroticism scores in adult smokers compared with nonsmokers, although some studies have failed to confirm this. The second answer is that stress may be caused by nicotine dependency. "The regular smoker needs nicotine to maintain normal moods and suffers from unpleasant feelings of irritability and tension between cigarettes, when his or her plasma nicotine levels are falling," explains Professor Parrott. "Smokers also learn that regular smoking prevents abstinence symptoms from developing. Thus, the link between regular smoke intake and keeping moods within normal bounds becomes strongly conditioned over time."<br />Professor Parrott says that the message that tobacco use does not alleviate stress but actually increases it needs to be far more widely known. He says this may help many adults to stop smoking, keep former smokers who have recently quit from relapsing and help more young people withstand the social pressures to try cigarettes. <br />Article: "Does Cigarette Smoking Cause Stress?" Andy C. Parrott, Ph.D., University of East London, American Psychologist, Vol. 54, No. 10. <br />Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs Office or at <br />The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 159,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 52 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 59 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human welfare.<br />EFFECT OF SMOKING<br />Smokers can give an endless list of excuses for smoking. For instance, some smokers sat that they get energy from smoking; some say they look smart, when they smoke; some say that they are able to maintain their figure because of smoking; some say that, as they are lonely and sad, they are smoking and some smoke to celebrate.<br />Smoking often seems like one of the best ways of handling stressful situations. For example, when you smoke, you may physically remove yourself from a stressful situation by going into another room or even outside the home or office.<br />Then, after you light up, you inhale deeply to smoke the cigarette, which relaxes you because these puffs are very similar to the type of breathing done during effective relaxation techniques.<br />Then, nicotine reaches your brain where it acts like a relaxation chemical. Remember, smoking can be both relaxing and stimulating. Deeply inhaled puffs relax you because they deliver large doses of nicotine that stimulate the release of relaxing chemicals in the brain.<br />Short, quick puffs are stimulating because, the current theory goes, the smaller amounts of nicotine cause brain cells to release other, more stimulating chemicals.  Smoking is also commonly used to combat feelings of anxiety and nervousness.<br />The nicotine in your cigarettes is so powerful that it can actually regulate your moods. It’s like a fast-acting medication that can be used to instantly treat anxiety and nervousness. Once the nicotine reaches your brain, it causes chemical reactions that make you feel less anxious or nervous.<br />This list of excuses for smoking never ends. There are some exceptional cases also. Such as, after quitting smoking, a woman was suffering from chest pain. Again when she started smoking again, her chest pain was cured.<br />Does smoking help stress?<br />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.<br />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.<br />Smoking can increase anxiety<br />Smoking increases stress levels due to the constant need to top up nicotine levels. The problems with using smoking to cope with stress include:<br />relief is only temporary - stress will return and you'll soon need to smoke another cigarette, <br />smoking does not solve your problems - it only hides them. The cause of the problem remains, and <br />smoking actually causes more stress than it relieves - scientific studies show that after giving up, stress levels decrease. <br />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.<br />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.<br />Helping you to quit<br />If you're finding the cravings difficult to resist, the NHS offers a number of Stop Smoking services to help you quit. The support you need is available from a range of locally based services that are provided for free by the NHS. Depending on what suits you, the Stop Smoking campaign runs one-to-one and group sessions to help you through the process of quitting. <br />The first couple of weeks are spent planning and preparing to give up smoking, before you actually quit. Specially trained advisers will tell you about the treatments available to help you beat the cravings, such as nicotine patches, and gum. They'll also help you to get this medication on prescription. <br />For more information about the NHS Stop Smoking services, you can call 0800 022 4 332, or visit the NHS Smokefree website. See the 'further information' section for details.<br />Tenager smoke<br />Teenagers should not smoke because smoking is the most preventable cause of death in America today, especially among teenage smokers. Cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung cancer. It is also responsible for chronic bronchitis. Last, there is emphysema, which is another disease caused by smoking. By smoking, people have a fivefold increase in the risk of dying from lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema.      Lung cancer accounts for 29 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States and smoking accounts for about 87 percent of lung cancer deaths. The risks of dying from lung cancer are 23 times higher for male smokers and 11 times higher for female smokers than for non-smokers<br />Definition<br />Smoking is the inhalation of the smoke of burning tobacco encased in cigarettes, pipes, and cigars. Casual smoking is the act of smoking only occasionally, usually in a social situation or to relieve stress. A smoking habit is a physical addiction to tobacco products. Many health experts now regard habitual smoking as a psychological addiction, too, and one with serious health consequences.<br />Description<br />The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has asserted that cigarettes and smokeless tobacco should be considered nicotine delivery devices. Nicotine, the active ingredient in tobacco, is inhaled into the lungs, where most of it stays. The rest passes into the bloodstream, reaching the brain in about 10 seconds and dispersing throughout the body in about 20 seconds.<br />Depending on the circumstances and the amount consumed, nicotine can act as either a stimulant or tranquilizer. This can explain why some people report that smoking gives them energy and stimulates their mental activity, while others note that smoking relieves anxiety and relaxes them. The initial "kick" results in part from the drug's stimulation of the adrenal glands and resulting release of epinephrine into the blood. Epinephrine causes several physiological changes—it temporarily narrows the arteries, raises the blood pressure, raises the levels of fat in the blood, and increases the heart rate and flow of blood from the heart. Some researchers think epinephrine contributes to smokers' increased risk of high blood pressure.<br />Nicotine, by itself, increases the risk of heart disease. However, when a person smokes, he or she is ingesting a lot more than nicotine. Smoke from a cigarette, pipe, or cigar is made up of many additional toxic chemicals, including tar and carbon monoxide. Tar is a sticky substance that forms into deposits in the lungs, causing lung cancer and respiratory distress. Carbon monoxide limits the amount of oxygen that the red blood cells can convey throughout your body. Also, it may damage the inner walls of the arteries, which allows fat to build up in them.<br />Besides tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide, tobacco smoke contains 4,000 different chemicals. More than 200 of these chemicals are known be toxic. Nonsmokers who are exposed to tobacco smoke also take in these toxic chemicals. They inhale the smoke exhaled by the smoker as well as the more toxic sidestream smoke—the smoke from the end of the burning cigarette, cigar, or pipe.<br />Here's why sidestream smoke is more toxic than exhaled smoke: When a person smokes, the smoke he or she inhales and then breathes out leaves harmful deposits inside the body. But because lungs partially cleanse the smoke, exhaled smoke contains fewer poisonous chemicals. That's why exposure to tobacco smoke is dangerous even for a nonsmoker.<br />— Barbara <br />