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The link between Smoking and Mental Health

When we experience an emotional reaction, for example, boredom, stress or anxiety, our flight/fight/freeze response kicks in and we move almost instantaneously from our Intellectual brain to our Primitive brain.  The primitive brain then decides that smoking at this time would be helpful to relax us and/or relieve our boredom. However, the brain has it completely wrong as smoking is actually a cause of stress and anxiety.  For instance, did you know that people who smoke are twice as likely to suffer from depression than non-smokers? 

Why is this?

Smoking affects the production of Serotonin, Serotonin being the chemical released by our brain and intestines to help with sleeping, eating and digestion and is thought to regulate anxiety, depression, happiness and moods.

Unfortunately, when we smoke the brain sees the chemicals from the tobacco as a substitute for the Serotonin.  The older we get the less Serotonin can get through to the brain hence the increased risk of not only serious physical illness but also anxiety and depression.

Smoking and Physical Health

However you regard smoking it is damaging to your body and not just your heart and lungs.  Poor vision, dulling of your sense of smell and taste are just some of the issues associated with smoking.  The constricting of your blood vessels due to the Nicotine in the tobacco products causing the vessels to tighten, which in turn increases your risk of high blood pressure leading to the risk of strokes and heart problems.  


Did you know that smoking can bring on the female menopause earlier than normal?  It can also increase the effects of hot flushes.

Damage to your airways from smoking can result in a persistent cough known as 'smokers cough'.

Regular exercise does not stop or reverse the the effects associated with smoking but you can avoid long term damage to your mind and body by giving up.

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