Stress Encourages Smokers To Consider Quitting, Study Shows

November 24, 1997

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Smokers may be more likely to consider quitting when they are experiencing high levels of stress, according to a study at Ohio State University.

The study showed that, contrary to popular belief, stress at home or at work heightens people’s ability to see smoking as a health risk.

“Smokers tend to smoke more when they are under stress,” said Catherine Heaney, associate professor in Ohio State’s School of Public Health, “and perhaps they experience more of the symptoms of smoking, such as persistent cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain. The increase in the severity of their symptoms seems to make them stop and think about the fact that smoking isn’t good for them.”

Heaney and Weng-Fang Chan, a recent graduate from the School of Public Health, surveyed 220 male smokers who worked in a manufacturing plant to uncover the relationship between stress and the desire to quit smoking. The study appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

The workers rated their job stress and non-job stress on a scale of 1 to 5, and indicated whether they would consider participating in a worksite-sponsored smoking cessation program.

For each 1-point increase in job stress level, the likelihood that workers would intend to participate in a smoking cessation program increased by 60 percent. For each 1-point increase in non-job stress, the likelihood increased by 43 percent.

The researchers were not able to include women in this study because there were too few female smokers at the plant. Heaney added that the results might differ for women, because past research has shown that female smokers are more likely than male smokers to use smoking as an important mechanism for coping with stress.

“People intuitively think that they shouldn’t try to quit smoking when they’re under stress,” said Heaney. “After all, quitting is stressful by itself, so the last thing you need is more stress on top of that. However, if you look at quitting as a multi-step process that starts when you first begin to think about quitting, then perhaps being under stress encourages people to take that necessary first step.”

Heaney emphasized that although stress may prompt people to seriously consider quitting, it’s not likely to facilitate actual behavior change.Employers who are concerned about job stress and the health of their workers may look on times of stress as windows of opportunity to encourage workers to think about quitting, she said. But once workers are committed to smoking cessation, lower levels of stress will enhance the likelihood that they will successfully quit. Thus, smoking cessation programs that incorporate stress management techniques may be the most effective.
-end-


Ohio State University

Related Smoking Articles from Brightsurf:

Smoking rates falling in adults, but stroke survivors' smoking rates remain steady
While the rate of Americans who smoke tobacco has fallen steadily over the last two decades, the rate of stroke survivors who smoke has not changed significantly.

What is your risk from smoking? Your network knows!
A new study from researchers at Penn's Annenberg School for Communication found that most people, smokers and non-smokers alike, were nowhere near accurate in their answers to questions about smoking's health effects.

Want to quit smoking? Partner up
Kicking the habit works best in pairs. That's the main message of a study presented today at EuroPrevent 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Smoking and mortality in Asia
In this analysis of data from 20 studies conducted in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and India with more than 1 million participants, deaths associated with smoking continued to increase among men in Asia grouped by the years in which they were born.

Predictors of successfully quitting smoking among smokers registered at the quit smoking clinic at a public hospital in northeastern Malaysia
In the current issue of Family Medicine and Community Health, Nur Izzati Mohammad et al. consider how cigarette smoking is one of the risk factors leading to noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory system diseases and cancer.

Restaurant and bar smoking bans do reduce smoking, especially among the highly educated
Smoking risk drops significantly in college graduates when they live near areas that have completely banned smoking in bars and restaurants, according to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

How the UK smoking ban increased wellbeing
Married women with children reported the largest increase in well-being following the smoking bans in the UK in 2006 and 2007 but there was no comparable increase for married men with children.

Smoking study personalizes treatment
A simple blood test is allowing Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) researchers to determine which patients should be prescribed varenicline (Chantix) to stop smoking and which patients could do just as well, and avoid side effects, by using a nicotine patch.

A biophysical smoking gun
While much about Alzheimer's disease remains a mystery, scientists do know that part of the disease's progression involves a normal protein called tau, aggregating to form ropelike inclusions within brain cells that eventually strangle the neurons.

A case where smoking helped
A mutation in the hemoglobin of a young woman in Germany was found to cause her mild anemia.

Read More: Smoking News and Smoking Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.