Many people think that smoking helps them to relax and ‘calms their nerves’ but the reality is that smoking actually increases anxiety and low moods.

This is because there’s an addictive chemical in cigarettes called nicotine. When the nicotine in your body drops to a certain level you will begin to crave a cigarette. The cravings cause a feeling of ‘stress’ until you smoke another cigarette and the nicotine levels rise again.

Someone craving a cigarette is likely to feel anxious or irritable. When these feelings are temporarily reduced by smoking, they can think it’s the cigarette that’s improved their mood. While in reality, it’s the nicotine addiction that may have caused the feelings of stress in the first place.

Many people who stop find they feel less stressed compared to people who keep smoking. People who stop often find they can concentrate better too, because they have higher levels of oxygen in their bodies.

So, as well as having great benefits for our physical health, stopping smoking can reduce stress and help us feel better as well.