I have to smoke because of all my stress

I have to smoke because of all my stress

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

20 Nov 2000, 06:26 #1

Joel's Reinforcement Library


I Have to Smoke
Because of All My Stress!



Stress is considered a cause for smoking by many people. Actually, smoking is a cause of stress. Recent correspondence dealt with reasons people give for going back to smoking: social situations, parties, alcohol consumption and stress. This month I wish to amplify on stress.

In January of 1979, Chicago and vicinity was devastated by a major blizzard. Heavy snows fell just after the New Year crippling the area. Additional snowfall continued throughout the week. During this time period I was barraged with phone calls from participants of the November, 1978 clinic claiming to be terribly nervous, upset and anxious from "not smoking." Curiously, most of them were feeling well during the month of December. They had occasional urges which lasted only seconds and were quite easy to overcome. What they were experiencing in January was different. Many felt that they were on the verge of cracking up. To them life was "just no good" without their cigarettes. Was the anxiety they were now experiencing really a side effect from giving up smoking?

To any outside observer the answer to the mysterious intensification of perceived withdrawal was obvious. In fact, if our ex-smokers listened to radio or television or read the front page of any newspaper, they would have encountered a story on cabin fever. By simply comparing their symptoms with those accompanying cabin fever they would understand what was happening.

Attributing the anxiety to smoking cessation was transference of blame. In fact, they were having a normal reaction to an abnormal situation - confinement due to the blizzard. They would have had the same anxiety whether or not they had given up cigarettes.

The above story illustrates an atypical time period in which numerous people experience similar complaints. In everyday life inherent problems exist. Work, family, friends, and money can all contribute to daily distress. Ex-smokers often think that if they just take a cigarette during a stressful episode the situation will be solved. For example, consider a person who finds he has a flat tire in a parking lot during a freezing rain. When encountering this kind of misfortune, the ex-smoker's first reaction often is, "I need a cigarette." What will actually solve this problem is changing the tire, and driving off in a warm car. What would a cigarette do to help this situation? It only makes the person see the flat tire longer and freeze more. This adds up to greater frustration. The first puff will probably reinforce the addiction to cigarettes which is a much greater crisis than the flat tire ever was. In fact, taking the first puff almost always results in a bigger problem than the crisis that "caused" them to take the puff. Even in a real catastrophe, such as a death in the family, injuries, illnesses, flooding resulting in major property loss, bankruptcy and so on, a cigarette will not solve the problem. It will just add another major problem to the originally bad situation.

Remember, smoking cannot solve problems of daily living. No matter what the problem, there is a more effective way of solving it than smoking. In fact, a smoker's health risks are a real problem that can only be solved if they - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!


Last edited by Joel on 07 Oct 2009, 23:04, edited 3 times in total.
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:34

20 Nov 2000, 08:36 #2

Thanks!!
Added following links and videos 06-12-2012

"I'll be a nervous wreck forever if I quit smoking"
"I am climbing the walls because I quit smoking"




[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Added link to section of video "[/font]Why do smokers smoke[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]" that addresses stress issue 07-02-2013[/font]
[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]
[/font]
[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Added link to [/font]Quitting smoking can make you calmer, happier and healthier 02-28-2014
Last edited by STACY on 28 Feb 2014, 16:09, edited 3 times in total.
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:05

01 Mar 2001, 21:53 #3

Joel,
For me, the title of this post should have been " I have to smoke to give me all my stress"
I wake feeling rested, refreshed, and well . I used to wake feeling sick, more tired than when I went to bed, angry and in need of a jolt of smoke to get me going.
I go through the day a step at a time, feeling able and not all churned up inside. I used to look for a reason to get upset, so I could do the "I have to go have a cigarette to calm down and think routine"
Instead of soothing ,I was jittering myself . Instead of sitting to think with a cigarette I was medicating so I wouldn`t need
to deal with my thoughts.
I could, and do, tend to go on and on with the pros ( like there is one) and cons . I just cannot believe that I could let that little straw of tobacco, affect the me I thought I was.
Instead of addiction to cigarettes I`ve been addicted, to a lifetime of feeling stressed, to the point of illness, and using the stressor ,thinking it was an aid not the cause!!!!! I hope this makes some sense to you. It was a light bulb moment for me..
Tessa....
Reading this back I probably should scratch it but if it sounds crazy that's OK , someone out there may relate . If not are there
spinoff sites that would welcome me????? Love Ya
Last edited by Tessa on 07 Oct 2009, 23:04, edited 2 times in total.
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:49

31 May 2001, 23:25 #4

Joel,
I really like this post, it makes sense!! As you know I'm trying to help my hubby to quit. He has been reading here at freedom and this one I'm going to print out!!!

Grateful to be free, 3m 4d...Heather
Last edited by heath on 07 Oct 2009, 23:05, edited 2 times in total.
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:05

31 May 2001, 23:28 #5

I still can`t believe how unstressed and able to cope one can become when you quit
smoking.... If anyone would have told me I would have said they were crazy! Then again I never
truly believed I would be near 6 days with out a smoke and I`m nearing 6 months.
STOPPING SMOKING TOOK THE STRESS OUT OF TESS
If you think "well maybe nothing has happened since she quit to get her stressed"
NOT!! There is always something in life to do it. May 4th my hubby had prostate surgery and from
the time the Dr. said the C word until we made the decision and he had it done was one of the most
upsetting few months of our lives. If I didn`t smoke then and got through so well anyone can be free
no matter what life throws their way.
Thanks Joel and all for the words of wisdom and the means to get free. To all you
sweeties hanging in there, keep at it. Give it some more time (day by day) and you will see it is true.
There is no serenity at the smoking lamp!!!!
Love ya all............................Tessa
Last edited by Tessa on 15 Feb 2009, 19:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

15 Jul 2001, 04:28 #6

Neither smoking or drinking is a legitmate route for dealing with stress.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

20 Jul 2001, 15:38 #7

I am not sure how clear this picture will come out online. On the left you can see how non-smokers react 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. After the initial stress they 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!
Joel
Edited 06-12-2012 inserting following video:
Last edited by Joel on 12 Jun 2012, 21:02, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

20 Jul 2001, 18:28 #8

Joel, I've had a thought (wow, that makes two this year already )
Stress causes a biological reaction in the body - increased urine acidity, which in turn "uses up" extra nicotine in the bloodstream (as I understand it) , which in turn puts a smoker into withdrawal.
Is it possible that ALL triggers are induced in the same way. Traditionally we have always assumed that what we call smoking triggers (such as drinking in a bar, finishing a meal, etc) have simple mental "habit and training" associations with smoking (like Pavlov's dogs). Is it possible, though, that drinking alcohol creates stress which increases urine acidity.... which creates withdrawal symptoms ???? And similarly that all triggers are actually causing this biological chain of reactions?
If so, then maybe it would be possible to medicate against this using something fairly harmless like indigestion tablets (or other alkaline substances to offset the acidity). Personally I am not a supporter of the "if it moves, medicate it" brigade, but certainly this could make sense in the first week of a quit, and could be useful for quitters who continue to struggle with triggers.
That's my thought for the month, which probably simply displays how medically and biologically ignorant I really am .
Last edited by marty (gold) on 07 Oct 2009, 23:11, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

20 Jul 2001, 21:12 #9

Hello Marty:

Only have a little time at the moment and will give a better detailed response later. The actual reason smoking increases while drinking is that alcohol itself increases urine acidity. More than 20 some years ago there were studies about giving antacid tablets to smokers before drinking as a means of reducing smoking that were shown to work. But from what I remember (I haven't seen this report in 20 years but I will try to locate it later), constant administration of the antacids were resulting in a state of alkalosis, throwing off blood chemistries and that had some problems associated with it and was thus discouraged as a cut back tool.

I'll try to lay my hands on this material later. It never was very important research to me because it was never meant as a means to quit smoking, just reduce it. This was an acceptable thought to many experts, a real value in smoking reduction. This was for people who they felt could not quit. I never felt that a person who really wanted to stop could not actually quit. The whole concept that cutting down was a good alternative can easily prevent some people from quitting and that I felt was counterproductive.

I'll get back to you soon on this.

Joel
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

20 Jul 2001, 22:10 #10

Here is another slide from the specific set I use to discuss why people smoke at certain intervals and frequencies. As you can see stress and alcohol are covered in the urine pH categories, along with vitamin C. This is the principle behind the cranberry juice we suggest the first few days of your quit. Again, I will try to run down the original studies, but it may take a while.
Joel
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

09 Aug 2001, 00:48 #11

For Shacky Rose:

The article here discusses cabin fever that may be a partial factor in what you are experiencing now. Not from being snowed in or frozen in your home, but from having your transportation route impaired from a broken down car. Just a possible explaination for some of what you are feeling.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

16 Sep 2001, 19:46 #12

This string adds further clarity on how while most people are feeling real stress reactions to the weeks events, smokers in many ways are feeling it worse than they would if they were ex-smokers facing the exact same circumstances. Taking a cigarette does not relieve stress for a never smoker or an ex-smoker. For a never smoker--if inhaled correctly, it will make them sick--like the first cigarette you took when you were a kid. For an ex-smoker--it will cause a relapse to a need for the full compliment of nicotine again. In essence--the ex-ex-smoker is likely in a peak level of withdrawal and feels atrocious from those withdrawals, on top of their original instigating stress reactions. Now if they smoke 10 or 20 cigarettes--they will start to feel "better." Better means that he or she will feel just as rotten as he or she did from the original stress. Then he or she must smoke one cigarette after another at intervals throughout the day that allow him or her to maintain a constant blood nicotine level or face withdrawal again. Basically--the smoker is now in the exact same boat that he or she was in prior to his or her quit. Smoking, stinking, chronic withdrawal, supporting an expensive addiction, socially ostracized, feelings of self-defeat, slowly destroying lung tissue with every drag, constantly depositing carcinogens throughout his or her body, poisoning the bloods oxygen carrying capacity, overworking the heart, basically slowly crippling and killing himself puff by puff. One drag off one cigarette is the key to throwing away your quit and throwing away your health and life. As long as you choose to stay free always remember the key to successfully staying free is to never take another puff!
Joel
Last edited by Joel on 07 Oct 2009, 23:13, edited 2 times in total.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

11 Oct 2001, 18:31 #13

For MSG:
The nervous energy effects you are experiencing may not just be from not smoking. The events of September 11 have caused a lot of people nervous reactions--people who have never smoked a day of their life as well as people who still chain smoke or people who recently have quit. We are going through extraordinary times and many people are having reactions to world events. As discussed in the other string, there may be other underlying physical issues responsible for stress reactions too. If they don't get better, get checked out, just to play on the safe side. While you may be jittery, it is fully possible you would be as jittery or maybe even more so if you had never quit smoking or went back to smoking, but one way to be sure that you have one less thing to really be nervous about is by always remembering to never take another puff!
Joel
Last edited by Joel on 07 Oct 2009, 23:14, edited 2 times in total.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

21 Oct 2001, 22:13 #14

I am bringing this one up again since the issues of heightened anxiety has been mentioned by some of our members. Don't automatically assume heightened anxiety is a result to not smoking--other things in life can easily be responsible for such feelings these days. To help minimize your reactions to stress, if not the stress itself, always stay focused on the importance ever knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: 12 Jan 2009, 23:23

02 Nov 2001, 08:10 #15

Thank you very much :)
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 Dec 2001, 19:03 #16

This half-life of nicotine levels in the brain is under normal conditions. Under abnormal conditions it may be shorter or longer. Stress makes it shorter--significantly shorter in fact thus increasing the bodies demand for cigarettes. This helps explains why smokers smoke more under stress and why when facing equivalent stresses as an ex-smoker, they will eventually be calmer than when smoking. The first time experiencing a specific stress will be a trigger, but after a time or two the association will be broken and withdrawal will no longer be encountered during the stress. The same stress will then in essence be less stressful for all practical purposes. To never have to deal with stress induced withdrawal, or even withdrawals experienced during non-stress times--just from going too long without smoking--always remember that to end nicotine withdrawal forever simply entails knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 Dec 2001, 19:03 #17

This half-life of nicotine levels in the brain is 20-30 minutes under normal conditions. Under abnormal conditions it may be shorter or longer. Stress makes it shorter--significantly shorter in fact thus increasing the bodies demand for cigarettes. This helps explain why smokers smoke more under stress and why when facing equivalent stresses as an ex-smoker, they will eventually be calmer than when smoking. The first time experiencing a specific stress will be a trigger, but after a time or two the association will be broken and withdrawal will no longer be encountered during the stress. The same stress will then in essence be less stressful for all practical purposes. To never have to deal with stress induced withdrawal, or even withdrawals experienced during non-stress times--just from going too long without smoking--always remember that to end nicotine withdrawal forever simply entails knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
Last edited by Joel on 07 Oct 2009, 23:14, edited 2 times in total.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

02 Jan 2002, 07:20 #18

In Chicago it has been a little cold but virtually no snow this year. But I was hearing lots of stories about the huge snowfall in Buffalo New York the past week. I am not sure if we have any members from that area, but I thought it would be good to bring this one up in case we do, and to prepare others from around the country and around the world that may encounter environmental factors that can often trigger such thoughts as smoking from the stress of inclement conditions. Just know, in weeks or months snow will melt and your life will get back to normal. Relapsing in response to such situations does not get automatically fixed when the weather clears. You can find yourself smoking again for many seasons to come, maybe all of them for the rest of your life. To avoid any such risk, just know come rain or come shine, come heat or come cold, come 20 hours of light or all day of darkness (for any Alaskan friends we may have), basically come any climate condition imaginable, they are all surmountable as long as you know to never take another puff!
Joel
Last edited by Joel on 07 Oct 2009, 23:14, edited 2 times in total.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

06 Mar 2002, 00:28 #19

Thank you, Joel
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

08 Mar 2002, 05:50 #20

For Ljoy:
Its good to have an experience like a broken car early on just to prove to yourself that you can get through stressful times without smoking. Normally there is nothing positive to show for such an experience but being that it is proving to you how you can survive such episode smoke free--it makes the event a positive experience as opposed to any kind of tragedy. A broken car is a momentary setback, a lost quit is a life threatening catastrophe.
Last edited by Joel on 07 Oct 2009, 23:25, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

22 Mar 2002, 00:20 #21

I did a talk last night where I started alluding to the smoking and stress effects but ran out of time to get into the exact mechanisms involved. I figured on the longshot that any of the participants pop in here I better bring this post up.
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!
Joel
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

08 Jun 2002, 18:59 #22

In the panel last night we had about 10 panelists. Some shared stories last night, others I know of issues that have happened in their lives since they had quit. One man who was off for just over a year and a half now recalled how his father had died just a few months into his quit and how this was the first major death he had ever experienced in his life and how he still got through it smoke free.

A couple of panelists referred to major scares that happened with their children, one man within months of a quit finding out that his daughter had a brain tumor. Luckily it turned out not to be non-malignant, but for a time he did not know that and yet he was still able to maintain his quit under such stress.

One man had numerous surgeries over the years and had been told by his doctors that the one real thing he had going for him was the fact he had quit smoking so long ago. If he had known at the time that he was quitting that he was going to have to go through such traumatic procedures, it may have interferred with his quitting because the person could think, "how can I get through the stress of such risky surgery without a cigarette?"

It all comes down to the fact that stress is not a reason for smoking, smoking is just a reason for stress. To reduce your causes for stress and likely your reaction to stresses that do occur over a lifetime always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 00:18

27 Jun 2002, 20:52 #23

Joel...
You should also post that article titled..."A Safer Way to Smoke"....LOLOLOL!!!!
I am a culprit of the "I will just smoke lower tar and nicotine cigarettes".....
It's like those people who are on diets and order a large pizza with everything on it and then order a large diet coke.....They cancel each other out right? HAHAHA!!!
Now that I don't smoke and I continue to read your articles....I catch myself smack in the middle of them.
I have been the "closet smoker"....I have blamed it on "stress"....I have said "The government wouldn't sell something that was that bad for me" .....such good reading and so much valuable information.....I also think the article..."My Cigarette, My Friend" is great!!!!!!!!!!
I wish everyone I knew would come to Freedom.....


Thanks
KRIS71780
I have been Quit for: 1 Week 1 Day 15 Hours 52 Minutes 42 Seconds. I have NOT smoked 173, for a savings of $25.98. Life Saved: 14 Hours 25 Minutes.
Last edited by kris71780 ( Bronze ) on 28 Oct 2009, 00:19, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

12 Jul 2002, 06:43 #24

Oh thanks for bringing this one up Joel I was looking for it everywhere.
Good to see it on the boad again.
yqs mirigirl
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

15 Aug 2002, 20:59 #25

Tensing up on tobacco road
New Zealand Herald

August 15, 2002

Even light smoking can make people grumpy and less able to handle stress, says a British study.
New Zealand anti-smoking lobby group Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) said the study results, published in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behaviour, dispelled the myth that smoking had a calming effect.
Researchers from London's King's College subjected two groups to "a battery of cognitive tests that were mildly stressful".
Males and females who smoked between five and 12 cigarettes a day were tested immediately after smoking.
The second group were non-smokers.
The two groups were equivalent in age, intellect, personality measures, and levels of anxiety and depression.
The researchers found the smokers' group was "overall significantly more discontented, troubled, tense, quarrelsome, furious, impatient, hostile, annoyed and disgusted and experienced greater dizziness".
After cognitive tests, "both male and female smokers showed greater increases than non-smokers in feeling spiteful, rebellious, incompetent".
They also exhibited greater sweating, "suggesting that they experienced greater mood changes in response to cognitive stress".
No difference was apparent between the two groups for divided or sustained attention tasks or in episodic memory.
In this month's Ash newsletter, director Trish Fraser said the study was further evidence of myths that tobacco companies used to lure people into smoking.
"We hear a lot about the long-term serious health dangers of tobacco but this study makes the point that tobacco smoking has some immediate effects on mood and ability," she said.
"The tobacco industry has for decades promoted users of their products as calm, confident individualists in control of their own lives.
"However, this marketing image doesn't match up in practice against the sweating, impatient, incompetent person you can become if you smoke even a small amount."
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