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That Cigarette You Smoke to Relieve Stress May Be Causing You the Stress!

Clinical Studies Show Tobacco Use Does Not Alleviate Stress But Actually Amplifies It!

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.

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."

Article: "Does Cigarette Smoking Cause Stress?" Andy C. Parrott, Ph.D., University of East London, American Psychologist, Vol. 54, No. 10.

Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs Office or at http://www.apa.org/journals/amp.html.


 

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