Is your stress causing you to pick up another pack?

BLOOMINGTON – Smokers may feel like cigarettes relieve stress, yet it will not help in the long run. That momentary release actually can lead to increased stress and anxiety.

“That rush of relaxation people may feel when smoking is very temporary and leads to withdrawal, which adds to the stress you’re already having,” said IU Health Community Health program manager Cara Wickens. “Taking a short walk or deep breaths are much more effective in the long term regarding helping people experiencing stress.”

Smoking does not solve the issue that caused the stress, and nicotine addiction adds to the pressure your mind and body are experiencing.

Cara Wickens

“Imagine this: You’re enjoying a nice evening with friends, and suddenly you notice you’re becoming more anxious, even though you’ve been laughing and having fun. But that cigarette is calling your name,” said Wickens. “This activity you’re doing, that is helping your mental health, is being interrupted by a bad habit that is harming you.”

Accepting that you want to quit is the first step. Finding help is the second.

“Having a good support system has been a huge help for many individuals I help through tobacco cessation,” said Wickens. “This means friends, family, and healthcare professionals.”

If you want to quit and need some help, call the Indiana Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) for free, evidence-based support to tobacco users who want to quit. Visit to find out more.