Surprise! Smoking Does Not Provide Stress Relief

The very cigarette that you puff in an attempt to relieve stress may cause you more stress in the long run. We know the scenarios - a colleague declares the need for a smoke break after stressful meetings, or your friend waits at the lobby to squeeze in a cigarette before heading in for a job interview.

Stressful situations trigger our fight or flight response, and smokers tend to reach for a cigarette for that fast stress relief. Here are five reasons how smoking could add to rather than alleviate stress in your life.

Related: Understanding Stress

1. Stress Relief Is An Illusion

Smoking doesn’t provide the stress relief you would expect.

While smokers may experience a temporary lift in mood, researchers have found that smokers, in general, are more stressed than non-smokers, and quitting smoking, in fact, reduces stress.

Smokers only experience that short reduction in stressful feelings because they are experiencing nicotine withdrawal and when they smoke the brain's craving for nicotine is satisfied. When the nicotine cravings inevitably strike again, stress levels will also rise. Smokers will then need yet another hit for that short-lived relief.

Related: Stress Management: Be a Master of Stress

2. Smoking Costs Money

Saving more money is another reason to stop smoking

The price of cigarettes is constantly rising; a pack of 20 cigarettes cost, on average, $14* in Singapore.

This means that smoking one pack a day will work out to $100 a week, or $5,000 a year. With that amount of money, you can treat yourself to a dream holiday!

Imagine how much easier life will be with that extra change lining your pockets. Save the money and gain peace of mind instead.

*The pricing of cigarettes is accurate at the time of publishing this article.

Related: What's Your Reason to Stub Out?

3. Smoking Increases the Risk of Health Problems

Conditions caused by smoking can leave you feeling stressed out

Illness is stressful, no doubt about that. While an occasional cough and shortness of breath can be brushed aside, smokers are taking a gamble with more serious respiratory conditions.

Smokers have a greater risk of conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, stroke and even impotence.

These debilitating and potentially fatal diseases not only make you feel stressed out, affect your health and your quality of life, but also those around you.

Related: Questions on Smoking, Tobacco Use and Health

4. Smoking Can Strain Relationships

Strained relationships can make you stressed out instead of being a stress relief

Many youths first begin to pick up smoking due to peer pressure. 

However, those who really have your best interests at heart - literally, the health of your heart - will likely disapprove of your bad habit and this can strain your relationships.

True friends and a loving family will wish the best for you both in life and health, so try to discern what really matters in life and appreciate those who are truly watching your back.

Related: Help Someone Quit Smoking

5. Smoking is a Toxic Addiction

Nicotine withdrawal can keep you coming back for more, making it hard to quit smoking.

Like a toxic relationship, smoking is extremely hard to leave once you are hooked. You may try to quit smoking or leave, but it takes a lot of effort, time and support to be truly free from its grasp.

And even then, you may occasionally be tempted. Why subject yourself to such unnecessary stress? Seek out healthier and more pleasurable past-times, like playing a sport, that reward you with real feelings of personal growth and accomplishment.

Related: 5 Quit Tips to Quit Smoking for Good

Choose Healthier Ways to Cope When You’re Stressed Out

Find a healthier outlet when you’re feeling stressed out

Beyond work, family or even your house mortgage, there are healthier ways and strategies to manage stress. Furthermore, with new tobacco control policies in Singapore, such as no-smoking zones and a ban on cigarette displays, it is now easier than ever to quit the habit. Your stress levels will thank you for it.

Still stressed out? Put away that cigarette and learn how to beat stress with more effective strategies such as exercise, positive thinking or meditation instead.

Quit Smoking, Your Stress Levels Will Thank You for It

What's more, with new tobacco control policies in Singapore, such as no-smoking zones and a ban on cigarette displays, it is now easier than ever to quit the habit. Your stress levels will thank you for it.

For more strategies on beating stress, check out 8 Quick Things You Can Do To De-Stress

Resources for Quitting

Join the I Quit Programme and remain smoke free for 28 days and you are 5 times more likely to quit smoking. You can nominate your loved ones as a supporter when you sign up for the programme. Validate your smoke-free status and redeem a HPB eVoucher* worth $50 at the 28th day milestone. Keep going and you'll also receive eVouchers* worth $30 and $20 at the 3rd month and 6th month milestone respectively!

*Terms and conditions apply.

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