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Smoking increases stress levels

Friday, August 13, 2010 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: smoking, stress, health news

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(NaturalNews) Many people say they smoke because it helps to take the edge off and reduce their stress levels. But new research has found that smoking induces an opposite effect, increasing stress levels over time rather than calming the nerves.

A team of researchers from the London School of Medicine and Dentistry recently evaluated a group of nearly 500 people who attempted to stop smoking after being hospitalized for heart disease. At the beginning of the study, all participants generally had similar stress levels and believed that smoking helped to reduce stress.

But after a year, those who continued to smoke saw no improvement in perceived stress levels, while those who abstained actually experienced a 20 percent drop in stress levels. According to the study paper, those who remained faithful by not smoking had "a significantly larger decrease in perceived stress".

Part of the reason why smokers may actually experience more stress than non-smokers is because the lulls in between smokes can be stressful. Smokers get sudden cravings for another cigarette and the desire to have one can be a considerable cause of mental strain.

Non-smokers, on the other hand, a free from such cravings. Even those who quit and initially struggle with cravings eventually break the habit and no longer experience cravings, which reduces overall levels of stress.

So in addition to the other known health benefits gained by not smoking, smokers now have another incentive to kick the habit and improve their overall sense of well-being.

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