Did you even know there was a World No Tobacco Day? No? Well you’re certainly not alone. But we thought it might be a perfect segue way into talking more about anxiety and the various things that trigger it. And smoking is definitely a trigger, on so many fronts.
“Smoking is highly prevalent across most anxiety disorders. Tobacco use increases risk for the later development of certain anxiety disorders, and smokers with anxiety disorders have more severe withdrawal symptoms during smoking cessation than smokers without anxiety disorders.” Anxiety, Anxiety Disorders, Tobacco Use, and Nicotine: A Critical Review of Interrelationships. Morisette, S. et al. Psychological Bulletin 2007, Vol. 133, No. 2, 245–272
Firstly there’s the actual act of smoking. The ironic thing is that peak anxiety attack, and despite all the associated physiological effects, many people grab a cigarette to ‘calm them down’. What they’re actually wanting to do is to just stop and breathe. And stopping for a smoke is a way to to slow down and breathe. Only problem is what they’re actually breathing in and how it effects the body. Cigarettes contain an addictive stimulant drug, nicotine. Nicotine is known to cause excitement and intensify your worries to make them seem bigger than they are… which can lead to more anxiety (ref). The physiological effects mean that smoking is making your anxiety worse! Researchers have found consistent evidence that stopping smoking is associated with improvements in depression, anxiety, stress, psychological quality of life, and positive feelings compared with continuing smoking (read more).
Secondly there’s the nicotine withdrawal. Quitting cigarettes can be a very stressful process, particularly due to the nicotine being one of the most addictive substances there is. Common symptoms include: cravings for nicotine, restlessness and difficulty sleeping, irritability, anger, anxiety, depressed mood and even getting cold like symptoms, constipation and mouth ulcers (www.quit.org.au). But once you’re through the tough part, and it’s tougher for some than others, you’re done. You’ve got a better chance of reducing your anxiety and depressive mood once you’ve quit.
Thirdly there’s the global impact of the tobacco industry. The top 3 producers of tobacco are China, Brazil and India (www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au). Massive amounts of land is deforested each year to make way for tobacco farms (4% of annual global deforestation, www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au). Pesticides and chemicals are used to maximise crop success but leach out into nearby waterways. Child labour is commonly used on farms in developing nations. And that’s all before the issue of butt littering and fires caused from tossed, lit butts. Cigarette butts are the most common item found in beach cleans ups, globally.
If you’re a smoker, there’s no time like the present to quit, for your health and the health of the planet. Hypnosis and NLP have tried and tested techniques to help you quit the cigs today. If you’re keen to quit and feel like you may need some help feel free to contact Brad.