I have to smoke because of all my stress

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

01 Oct 2008, 21:05 #51

I saw where a newer member was admiring another member who was quitting while dealing with a rather stressful time period. It worries me when I see comments like this because it makes me think that the person possibly feels that he or she may not be able to quit or stay off when encountering such stresses, or that it takes some extraordinary effort for people to quit or stay off under stressful times. That is not a philosophy that is really accepted here at Freedom. We feel that people can quit and stay off of smoking no matter what other situations they may encounter over their lifetime.

I am going to kick up a few other posts with this comment that all apply to this concept. It is crucial for all who read here to accept the fact that they will be able to stay off smoking under all times as long as they make and stick to a personal commitment to never take another puff.


Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

28 Nov 2008, 22:06 #52

From a link in the O'Bob classic string

Success Stories: Before and After (broken link)

I pulled this essential (for me) old post by Joel from March 4 of 2001

Hello Jax:

You wrote the following equation:
crisis=cigarett, stress=cigarett,drink=cigarett etc..etc...

I would say it more like this:

crisis=crisis, stress=stress, drink=drink, etc, etc.

Cigarette=relapse=smoking=loss of control=stench=loss of funds=

loss of prestige=illnesses=disabilities=premature death

All I am trying to clarify here is that a crisis, or stress or a drink, or a wedding or a funeral, or an earthquake or a flood, or a winning lottery ticket, or birth, or a promotion or a loss of a job, or a marriage or a divorce, or a big tax refund or an IRS audit, or great excitement or tremendous boredom, or the oridinary or extraordinary events of life can NOT cause a relapse. Only a cigarette can do that, or actually, just a puff. Life is going to proceed with all its unforeseen variables. But life is going to proceed smoke free for everyone who recognizes that they want to stay smoke free and are going to focus and work on staying smoke free, no matter what. The only thing they need to understand to accomplish that goal is to remember to never take another puff!

Last edited by JoeJFree Gold on 02 Mar 2009, 21:36, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

23 Dec 2008, 22:48 #53

While this string is meant to cover all kind of stresses, the original article referred to cabin fever effects that snow, ice, cold and other forms of inclement conditions that many around the Northern hemisphere seem to be encountering this year. Be careful as to not write off all feelings to simply not smoking. Other factors may very well be at play, from weather, to general holiday stresses, to economical pressures that are truly unique to this year.

As it says in the string "Life goes on without smoking"

It is important for all people who quit smoking to recognize that life goes on without smoking. Over time after a person quits smoking there will be changes: medical, psychological, professional, economic, life roles, relationships, etc. What is important to recognize though is that most of these changes would have occurred whether you had quit smoking or not or even whether or not you ever smoked. As many of my friends are now in their mid-forties and fifties, it is amazing how we share stories of new ailments and new medications being introduced into our lives. Some of these people had quit smoking decades ago, some of them never smoked. None of the ex-smokers bring up a new disorder and say or think to themselves that it must be happening now because they quit smoking ten or twenty years ago. It would be like a person who never smoked who finds out they now have high blood pressure and then thinks to him or herself that it must be because he or she stopped using some product twenty years ago. As we age things happen-it is just the way things go.

If a person gets diagnosed with a smoking related ailment like emphysema or lung cancer years or decades after quitting it is likely that their mind is shifted to think about their past smoking. But medical and psychological conditions that are experienced by smokers and non-smokers alike, the concept of smoking or quitting should not be considered a primary focus anymore.

Smoking did not cause everything. It causes a whole lot of things though and many things that it does not cause, it makes worse. On the same token, quitting does not cause everything. Quitting is usually accompanied with many repairs, but there are also some adjustments (see Medication adjustments) that go on that may need a partnership with your physicians to get worked out.

My general rule of advice is whatever happens the first few days of a quit, whether it is physical or psychological reactions, blame it on not smoking. It is probably the cause of most early quit reactions. If it is a symptom to a condition that could be life threatening, such as severe chest pains or signs or symptoms of a stroke-contact your doctor immediately. While it is probably nothing and just a side effect of quitting, in the long shot that it is something else coincidentally happening the week you are quitting, you need to get it checked out.

Things happening weeks, months, years or decades after your quits though should not ever be assumed to be a quit smoking reaction. It is life going on without smoking. Some of these things may trigger smoking thoughts-especially if they are similar to conditions you did have in the past when you were a smoker. The situation now is a first time experience with a prior feeling where smoking was integrates thus creating smoking thoughts. But even in this case, the condition is creating a smoking thought, it is not that your smoking memories or your smoking past is creating the condition.

Life goes on without smoking. It is likely to go on longer and it is likely that you will be healthier at each and every stage than you would have been if you had continued smoking. Your life will continue to stay better and likely last long longer as long as you always remember to never take another puff!


For people who are off for weeks, months, years or decades and who are cranky, nervous, depressed, angry, have sore throats, heart burn, ear aches, backaches, headaches, eye strains, poor vision, hearing problems, broken bones, have stubbed their toes, have financial concerns, job stresses, or any other extraordinary issues going on in their lives at the moment. Don't blame every feeling, bad or good in your life on the fact that you happened to have quit smoking. Life goes on without smoking and as the closing paragraph in this article states:

Life goes on without smoking. It is likely to go on longer and it is likely that you will be healthier at each and every stage than you would have been if you had continued smoking. Your life will continue to stay better and likely last long longer as long as you always remember to never take another puff!
Last edited by Joel on 18 Sep 2009, 21:10, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 17 Jul 2009, 02:28

27 Jul 2009, 01:26 #54

I would have never thought it was possible to have a very stressful moment and NOT want a cigarette. After only 2 1/2 weeks I had a MAJOR stressful time happen and I DID NOT WANT A CIGARETTE! Like Joel said, life is life, it is full of ups and downs no matter if you smoke or not. After I learned what I learned here on this site, and realized you could handle stress better without the withdrawl that went along with it while being a smoker, I felt I could handle anything, and I have so far, and know I can forever no matter what.

This afternoon I was talking to a smoker friend and she has a 10 year old, 5 year old and 1 year old. I said I was at 3 weeks now and she congratulated me. She said there was no way she oculd stop, every time she tried, by the second day she was ready to kill her kids and she gave up. I told her those feelings do not last forever, it gets better and better.........she did not want to listen as MOST don't! Oh well. One day I'm sure she will be asking me questions and I will be ready to answer. It's sad too, she does not have the money for this expensive addiction.

Joined: 06 Dec 2008, 16:58

18 Sep 2009, 21:12 #55


Joined: 21 Apr 2009, 02:43

27 Oct 2009, 15:44 #56

If you pretend to smoke, your kids will observe and then will probably imitate.

Try alternating nostril breathing. It is a skill you develop and can be very calming.
Last edited by ccathy247 on 27 Oct 2009, 22:43, edited 1 time in total.
The intelligent quitter's strategy combines an understanding of the Law of Addiction
with well-protected core motivations.

Nobody ever graduates from Addiction

Cathy, Gold

[Quit April 10, 2009]

Joined: 06 Dec 2008, 16:58

01 Jan 2010, 17:05 #57

Related videos:

Video Title Dial Up High Speed MP3 Audio Length Added
"I am climbing the walls because I quit smoking" 2.69mb 8.59mb 3.78mb 08:23 10/18/06
"I'll be a nervous wreck forever if I quit smoking" 3.87mb 11.55mb 4.77mb 10:30 11/29/06
Why do smokers smoke? 2.65mb 5.70mb 8.31mb 18:08 11/07/06

In the illustration above you can see on the left how a non-smokers reacts to stress. Without it they are happy and comfortable, when encountering stress they lose this comfort and depending on its severity they can get either mildly annoyed or really upset. The resolution of the stress will normally bring the non-smoker back to the original state of comfort, after a little time of cooling down of course.
Smokers are much more complex. Stress has an affect on all people--it makes the urine acidic. Both smokers and non-smokers experience this phenomena. In non-smoker smokers, the urine acidity has no real visible or perceivable effects--smokers are much more complicated. After the initial stress a smoker will feel like a non-smoker encountering stress, for a few seconds. But then the delineation occurs, the smoker's nicotine level depletes because of the urine acidity induced by the stress, and the smoker is kicked into a drug withdrawal state. The smoker has four ways to deal with the situation now.
First, the smoker can just smoke a cigarette. Well low and behold if the smoker does this he or she will feel "better." He or she will not feel good; he or she just won't be feeling withdrawal for the moment but still be feeling the initial stress. In essence, he or she will feel like a non-smoker under stress, not great, but not in withdrawal either.
The second way a smoker can handle the stress is to solve it and also smoke a cigarette. This results in one happy smoker. No stress now and no withdrawal, life is good at the moment. The feeling of bliss is basically the same feeling a non-smoker has who resolves his or her stress.
But then there are the other two scenarios. The smoker can solve the problem but not smoke. Here is the kicker here, the problem is resolved but the smoker is still in withdrawal, the nicotine level has dropped and problem resolution has no way to stop the nicotine depletion, only a cigarette can do that.
The worst of all situations is the smoker who cannot solve the problem and also cannot smoke a cigarette. This is a miserable situation to ever be in. You normally don't want to be around a smoker in this situation let alone being one yourself. Many smokers find themselves facing this dilemma daily since many jobs and social settings do not allow smoking yet constantly force the smoker to face stresses.
When you quit smoking these last four reactions to stress become a thing of the past. You still face stress, but you no longer have to face drug withdrawals induced by it. In essence you deal with stress in a totally different way when you don't have chronic drug withdrawals exaggerating it.
To stay in the position of being able to handle stresses with greater clarity and minimal discomfort always know that no matter what the stress, to avoid it having any long lasting and life threatening complications always remember to never take another puff!

Joined: 11 Nov 2008, 19:22

02 Mar 2010, 15:16 #58

Acute Negative Affect Relief
from Smoking Depends on the
Affect Situation and Measure
but Not on Nicotine

Biological Psychiatry, February 2, 2010   [Epub ahead of print]
Perkins KA, Karelitz JL, Conklin CA, Sayette MA, Giedgowd GE.


BACKGROUND: Smoking acutely relieves negative affect (NA) due to smoking abstinence but may not relieve NA from other sources, such as stressors.

METHODS: Dependent smokers (n = 104) randomly assigned to one of three smoking conditions (nicotine or denicotinized cigarettes, or no smoking) completed four negative mood induction procedures (one per session): 1) overnight smoking abstinence, 2) challenging computer task, 3) public speech preparation, and 4) watching negative mood slides. A fifth session involved a neutral mood control. The two smoking groups took four puffs on their assigned cigarette and then smoked those same cigarettes ad libitum during continued mood induction. All subjects rated their level of NA and positive affect on several measures (Mood Form, Positive and Negative Affect Scale, Stress-Arousal Checklist, and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-state). They also rated craving and withdrawal.

RESULTS: Negative affect relief from smoking depended on the NA source (i.e., mood induction procedure) and the affect measure. Smoking robustly relieved NA due to abstinence on all four measures but only modestly relieved NA due to the other sources and typically on only some measures. Smoking's effects on positive affect and withdrawal were similar to effects on NA, but relief of craving depended less on NA source. Smoking reinforcement only partly matched the pattern of NA relief. Few responses differed between the nicotine and denicotinized smoking groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Acute NA relief from smoking depends on the situation and the affect measure used but may not depend on nicotine intake. These results challenge the common assumption that smoking, and nicotine in particular, broadly alleviates NA.


Joined: 30 Mar 2010, 18:30

03 Apr 2010, 19:10 #59

I quit 10 days ago - after smoking for almost 30 years.  I seem to be experiencing some of the worst kinds of stress on every level since quitting (although I do appreciate that things can always get worse and that smoking will not alleviate the situation).  I desperately want to smoke again.  I keep reading this site (which I have found to be invaluable by the way) and I recite the mantra 'never take another puff' at least on an hourly basis.  I am finding it so hard and feel very emotional at the moment.

Joined: 18 Jan 2009, 06:57

03 Apr 2010, 22:27 #60

Why do people smoke?
Education uncovers the keys to break the False Association of stress being relieved by nicotine.

Nicotine does not relieve stress, it relieves its own absence.

While we were still active users stress depleted our nicotine reserves and led us to the false conclusion that more nicotine (another cigarettes smoked) would reduce our stress.
  Nicotine never did anything of the kind.

The stressor (an acidic producing event) was still present and still depleting the alkaloyd chemical nicotine.
=====>>>Nicotine never relieved your stress, it added to it by increasing anxiety levels due to withdrawal pressure.

Break the cycle - Break Free - Permanently!

Joined: 11 Nov 2008, 19:22

17 Jun 2010, 02:24 #61

Joel's life's work has been our education cornerstone since shortly after his arrival here at Freedom on January 20, 2000.  One of the real treats has been watching as year after year, study after study proves the validity of another of his core lessons.  Below is the latest installment. 

Joel teaches that stress is an acidic event within the body that accelerates renal elimination of the alkaloid nicotine from the bloodstream.  That smoking does not satisfy the underlying stress factor but only nicotine's absence.   To show just how contrary Joel's basic stress lesson is from what nearly all others are teaching, this is what's currently being taught at the United States government's leading quit smoking site: 
The stress-smoking link "Stress is a reason why many people smoke. When you have a bad day, it can seem like your cigarettes are your only friend. Cigarettes can help you calm down, relax, and feel like you are pampering yourself. Sound familiar?"     
Sadly, most of the lessons taught at government quitting sites are the exact opposite of what's taught here at Freedom and WhyQuit.   Most damaging of all is the lesson that quitters should not be hard on themselves for "slipping" and smoking a cigarette now and then.  It's the use rationalization the nicotine addict who wants to have their quitting cake and eat it too is dying to hear. It  evidences that those writing U.S. quitting lessons have little or no experience in actually working day to day with smokers and quitters. 

Other contrary lessons include government assertions that planning is key to success (when industry studies show unplanned attempts are twice as successful),  that you need to pick a memorable quitting date like your birthday, the Great American Smokeout or New Years, that it's nearly impossible to quit cold turkey (when in fact cold turkey will produce more successful ex-smokers this year than all other quitting methods combined), that key to quitting is changing your entire life (drinking tea instead of coffee, watching different television programs, and creating a host of quitting crutches), and hiding from your use cues (taking different routes home and avoiding smoking friends).      

More than 400,000 US smokers will run out of time and chances this year.  With 40 percent of U.S. smokers making a serious quitting attempt of at least 24 hours each year, it isn't matter of not wanting to quit but of not knowing how.  I've tried this past year to motivate government health officials to make their quitting web pages reflect the truth about how most ex-smokers succeed, and to incorporate the latest study findings.   I've failed.  It doesn't mean I won't keep trying. 

Recent events have many questioning the competence of government officials in regard to safety issues associated with deep sea oil drilling and coal mine safety.  I have similar concerns that those in charge of both national smoking cessation policy and youth smoking prevention either lack  competence, leadership skills or the desire to get it right.   How many more must die before someone in government cares that what we taught them during their final attempt before disaster struck was flat out wrong?  Am I holding out hoping that that someone stumbles upon this Freedom post?  You bet but I'm not holding my breath.

My greater hope is that Joel's lessons are someday soon so widely shared across the Net by successful long-term ex-smokers that government health officials begin paying for studies to prove Joel wrong.  I believe it may already have happened more than once ; )  If so, how many more times must Joel be proven correct before they update their web site's quitting advice?  That part continues to have me baffled.

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,

John (Gold x11)

The effect of stopping smoking
on perceived stress levels
Journal:  Addiction, June 7, 2010 [Epub ahead of print]

Authors:  Hajek P, Taylor T, McRobbie H.

Queen Mary, University of London, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6BQ, UK.


Aims:  Many smokers believe that smoking helps them to cope with stress, and that stopping smoking would deprive them of an effective stress management tool. Changes in stress levels following long-term smoking cessation are not well mapped. This longitudinal project was designed to provide more robust data on post-cessation changes in perceived stress levels by following a cohort of smokers admitted to hospital after myocardial infarction (MI) or for coronary artery bypass (CAB) surgery, as such patients typically achieve higher continuous abstinence rates than other comparable samples.

Design:  A total of 469 smokers hospitalized after MI or CAB surgery and wanting to stop smoking were seen in the hospital and completed 1-year follow-ups. Ratings of helpfulness of smoking in managing stress at baseline, smoking status (validated by salivary cotinine concentration) and ratings of perceived stress at baseline and at 1-year follow-up were collected.

Findings: Of the patients, 41% (n = 194) maintained abstinence for 1 year. Future abstainers and future smokers did not differ in baseline stress levels or in their perception of coping properties of smoking. However, abstainers recorded a significantly larger decrease in perceived stress than continuing smokers, and the result held when possible confounding factors were controlled for (P < 0.001).

Conclusions:  In highly dependent smokers who report that smoking helps them cope with stress, smoking cessation is associated with lowering of stress. Whatever immediate effects smoking may have on perceived stress, overall it may generate or aggravate negative emotional states. The results provide reassurance to smokers worried that stopping smoking may deprive them of a valuable coping resource.

PMID: 20528815

Source Link:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20528815



Joined: 11 Nov 2008, 19:22

17 Jun 2010, 11:53 #62

Below are additional papers relevant to this issue:  

Does cigarette smoking
cause stress?
Journal:  The American Psychologist, October 1999, Volume 54(10), Pages 817-820.

Author:  Parrott AC.

Department of Psychology, University of East London, Great Britain. [url=mailto:andy2@uel.ac.uk]andy2@uel.ac.uk[/url]


Smokers often report that cigarettes help relieve feelings of stress. However, the stress levels of adult smokers are slightly higher than those of nonsmokers, adolescent smokers report increasing levels of stress as they develop regular patterns of smoking, and smoking cessation leads to reduced stress. Far from acting as an aid for mood control, nicotine dependency seems to exacerbate stress. This is confirmed in the daily mood patterns described by smokers, with normal moods during smoking and worsening moods between cigarettes. Thus, the apparent relaxant effect of smoking only reflects the reversal of the tension and irritability that develop during nicotine depletion. Dependent smokers need nicotine to remain feeling normal. The message that tobacco use does not alleviate stress but actually increases it needs to be far more widely known. It could help those adult smokers who wish to quit and might prevent some schoolchildren from starting.

PMID: 10540594 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Nicotine renal excretion rate
influences nicotine intake
during cigarette smoking.

Journal:  The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, July 1985, Volume 234(1), Pages 153-155.

Authors:  Benowitz NL, Jacob P 3rd.

Abstract We examined the hypothesis that rate of elimination of nicotine affects nicotine intake during cigarette smoking. Elimination rate was altered by administering ammonium chloride or sodium bicarbonate throughout the day. Nicotine intake during unrestricted cigarette smoking was measured using metabolic clearance data obtained after i.v. nicotine infusion together with blood and urinary nicotine concentrations measured during 24-hr periods of cigarette smoking. Compared with placebo treatment (urine pH 5.6), urinary acidification (pH 4.5) increased (208%) renal clearance and, to a lesser extent (41%), total clearance and increased (by 7.2 mg) daily urinary excretion of nicotine. Urinary alkalinization (pH 6.7) resulted in a decrease (78%) in renal clearance with a small decrease (3.7 mg) in daily nicotine excretion. Average blood nicotine concentrations were similar in placebo and bicarbonate treatment conditions, but were 15% lower during acid loading. Daily intake of nicotine was 18% greater during acid loading. The compensatory increase in nicotine consumption was only partial, replacing about half the excess urinary nicotine loss. This is the first direct demonstration that rate of elimination can influence self-determined drug consumption in humans.

PMID: 4009497

Effect of grapefruit juice
on cytochrome P450 2A6
and  nicotine renal clearance
Journal: Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 2006 November, Volume 80(5), Pages 522-530.

Authors:  Hukkanen J, Jacob P 3rd, Benowitz NL.

Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Medical Service, San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center, and Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco 94143-1220, USA.


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Grapefruit juice is an inhibitor of the cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A4 enzyme and transporters such as P-glycoprotein and organic anion transporting polypeptides, leading to clinically important interactions. Our objective was to study the effect of grapefruit juice on the pharmacokinetics of nicotine, which is primarily metabolized by the CYP2A6 enzyme.

METHODS: Ten volunteers were given a 2-mg oral dose of deuterium-labeled nicotine on 3 occasions together with 1 L of water, full-strength grapefruit juice, or half-strength grapefruit juice. Concentrations of nicotine and its metabolites were analyzed in plasma and urine for 8 hours.

RESULTS: Grapefruit juice inhibited the formation of cotinine from nicotine (area under the plasma cotinine concentration-time curve from 0 to 8 hours of 6807 min.ng/mL, 7805 min.ng/mL, and 8007 min.ng/mL for full-strength grapefruit juice, half-strength grapefruit juice, and water, respectively; repeated-measures ANOVA, P=.009). The time to peak plasma concentration of cotinine was delayed (216 minutes, 159 minutes, and 147 minutes, respectively; ANOVA, P=.011), and the peak plasma concentration was lower with grapefruit juice compared with water (18 ng/mL, 21 ng/mL, and 22 ng/mL, respectively; ANOVA, P=.010). Oral clearance, peak plasma concentration, and time to peak plasma concentration of nicotine were not affected. Grapefruit juice increased the renal clearance of nicotine (231 mL/min, 219 mL/min, and 123 mL/min, respectively; ANOVA, P=.045) and cotinine (19 mL/min, 14 mL/min, and 16 mL/min, respectively; ANOVA, P=.002).

CONCLUSIONS: Grapefruit juice inhibits the metabolism of nicotine to cotinine, a pathway mediated by CYP2A6, and increases the renal clearance of nicotine and cotinine. Nicotine oral clearance is not affected by grapefruit juice because the inhibition of hepatic metabolism is offset by the increase in the renal clearance of nicotine. However, other compounds metabolized by CYP2A6, as well as other drugs excreted via renal clearance mechanisms similar to those of nicotine, may be susceptible to significant pharmacokinetic grapefruit juice interactions.

PMID: 17112808
Last edited by JohnPolito on 17 Jun 2010, 12:33, edited 9 times in total.

Joined: 17 Aug 2010, 16:35

28 Aug 2010, 15:51 #63

Thanks for bringing this one up. The great thing about this site is not only the awesome arsenal of essential information--but the ease in finding it at just the right moment in a beginning quit.
Gratefully Gold

I escaped from the prison of smoking on August 14, 2010.  
[font]The best revenge is quitting well![/font] 

Joined: 13 Nov 2008, 14:04

02 Jan 2011, 14:08 #64

Above video 2010 response to member encountering stress that ties into this string.

Links to other videos addressing smoking and stress:

"I'll be a nervous wreck forever if I quit smoking"
"I am climbing the walls because I quit smoking"
Why Do Smokers Smoke?
Last edited by Joel Spitzer on 02 Jan 2011, 14:13, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 13 Nov 2008, 14:04

02 Feb 2011, 09:48 #65

Last edited by Joel Spitzer on 02 Feb 2011, 09:50, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 13 Nov 2008, 14:04

02 Jul 2013, 12:05 #66

Section of video "Why do smokers smoke" that addresses stress issue

Joined: 13 Nov 2008, 14:04

28 Feb 2014, 16:10 #67

Last edited by Joel Spitzer on 01 Mar 2014, 14:53, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 13 Nov 2008, 14:04

22 Jan 2016, 14:08 #68

It seems that a large portion of people in the East Coast of United States are going to be experiencing weather conditions similar to the ones that prompted this article.