“Yes, I know it’s injurious to health. I also know if my children inhale the smoke they might have asthma. But, I just cannot give up. Every time I have a challenging task at work I have to light a cigarette and smoke to relieve stress” narrates Niranjan, 38 year old finance analyst who has a very stressful job.
According to a 2014 study conducted by Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Smoking is the third top risk for health loss in India, leading to nearly one million deaths each year. The World Health Organization predicts that tobacco deaths in India may exceed 1.5 million annually by 2020. The study also raises another disturbing fact that India has a high number of female smokers.
Smoking can kill through heart disease, oral cancer, tuberculosis, lung cancer, or other lung diseases. The education campaigns and the anti-tobacco laws have been spreading this loud and clear message. So why do millions of people continue to smoke?
There have been many studies and surveys conducted to understand why people continue to smoke despite having the knowledge about its injurious effects on health. The experts have summarized the reasons given by smokers as follows:
- To overcome tensions
- Due to loneliness
- Lack of socializing
- Coping strategy
- It relaxes me
- It’s a habit
- An excuse to take a break
- Helps me concentrate
If observed carefully it appears that many people smoke to relieve stress. People have this misbelief that smoking has a calming effect that helps relieve tension and improve the mood. This belief is so extensive that it is common to see many working professionals to take a break when they are in a state of agitation and smoke to relieve stress. But, scientific studies totally disprove of stress management capability of smoking. In fact, nicotine present in the cigarette actually increases level of stress. Far from acting as an aid for mood control and stress relief, smoking causes several harmful effects on body. Smoking has been implicated as a contributing factor for many diseases including variety of infections, cancers, heart diseases, and chronic lung diseases which put together are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in today’s society. Research also suggests that the tar and nicotine present in cigarette can lower the immunity of body. The temporary stress relief that you get after a smoke is merely due to psychological reasons or distractions.
If you think you face too many stressful situations in everyday life, stress management is must. But, don’t smoke to relieve stress. Smoking is an extremely unhealthy way to manage your stress. If you are on a lookout for a healthy way of de-stressing with some long-term benefits, you must consider healthy and proven therapies such as physical activity, meditation, yoga or massage therapies.
At Four Fountains De-Stress Spa in Bangalore and other metros we offer massages for de-stressing that make use of natural herbs and other effective techniques. So, before you decide to smoke to relieve stress, think of trying other means of de-stressing that give you only the health benefits and cause no ill effects.