Why Do Smokers Use Cigarettes to Control Their Moods?

Monday, November 26, 2012

woman giving a time out symbol

No one really knows why some smokers use cigarettes to deal with their moods, but here are some ideas:

  • Nicotine causes the brain to release chemicals (beta-endorphin and norepinephrine) that can cause people to temporarily feel better and improve their mood.

  • Smoking can serve as a quick “pick-me-up” when you’re stressed or depressed.

  • Smoking can serve as a “time out” from thinking about or dealing with stress and other moods.

  • Smoking can serve as a distraction from whatever is bothering you.

  • Smoking is often a social activity, so smoking in a group can bring feelings of support and comfort.

  • Smoking relieves nicotine withdrawal symptoms, which can occur between cigarettes for people with strong addictions. 

This is not a healthy way to deal with your mood. The relief only lasts a short time and can leave you wanting another cigarette. At the end of the day, the cause of your problem will still remain. So it’s worth spending some time thinking about healthier ways to deal with your mood.

we are strong enough to quit

Quit Guide

From those of us at Smokefree Women…Congratulations! You are taking the first step towards a healthier, new lifestyle.

Start Today
Woman looking at her cell phone

Having a Baby?

SmokefreeMOM is a text messaging program that provides quitting tips and encouragement.

Smiling woman holding her hand under her chin
Sign Up

Our Tools

The Smokefree Women Web site includes a variety of interactive tools to help you quit smoking.