What is stress smoking?

Stress is a part of our everyday life, and we all have ways of coping with stress. Some of these ways are positive, while others can be negative. Smoking may seem as an easy way to cope with stress, but it isn’t a long-term stress reliever, nor is it a healthy way to deal with stress. Here’s more.

Smoking to deal with stress

Some of us may smoke as part of self-medication, to ease feelings of stress. Although smoking creates an immediate sense of relaxation, it can actually increase anxiety and tension in the long run. Stress smoking is not only bad for our health- it can also give way to withdrawal symptoms and increased cravings.

Signs of stress smoking

When a person smokes, nicotine reaches the brain within ten seconds. At first, this improves mood and concentration, decreases anger and stress, relaxes muscles and reduces appetite. However, this can result in withdrawals, making smoking a part of your daily routine. This can lead to long-term health conditions, and even addiction. If you find yourself smoking to relive stress, you may be a stress smoker.

How to quit stress smoking

The best way to quit stress smoking is to identify your stress triggers, recognise your smoking trigger (what causes you to smoke), and replace this habit with a healthier coping mechanism. This may be difficult to do at first, but it’s possible with willpower and support from family and friends. 

Smoking triggers can include: going to a party/club where it’s common to smoke, having friends/family that smoke or constantly having cigarettes or lighters near you. It’s important to avoid such situations where possible.

Smoking is only a temporary solution for handling stress. The only way to truly control stress is to identify what causes the stress and controlling the way you react to stressful events and situations, which includes adopting healthier coping mechanisms.  If you or someone you know wants to quit smoking, you can contact Narcotics Anonymous on 0861006962 or visit your nearest pharmacy for tools that can help you.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).