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 is thought that these can improve mood and make you feel better. However, this only lasts 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.
Smoking increases stress levels due to the constant need to top up nicotine levels. The problems with using smoking to cope with stress include:
- relief is only temporary - stress will return and you will soon need to smoke another cigarette,
- smoking does not solve your problems, it only hides them - the cause of the problem remains, and
- smoking actually causes more stress than it relieves - scientific studies show that after giving up, stress levels decrease.
If you are 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 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.
The first couple of weeks are spent planning and preparing to give up before you actually quit. Specially trained advisers will tell you about the treatments available to help beat the cravings, such as nicotine patches and gum. They will also help you to get this medication on prescription. You can find your local NHS Stop Smoking service by calling 0800 169 0169. You may also find the links below useful.
Source: NHS Direct