Smoking has a number of physical effects on a person, which has been well documented and can be found on warning labels and billboards everywhere. The emotional effects of smoking is less well known, but can be just as detrimental if not more. Here is a look at the different emotional effects that smoking has both on the smoker as well as their friends and family:
Personal Emotional Effects- Medical
Medically, smoking has a number of effects on emotion based on the way that nicotine affects the body. Cigarettes are an “upper”, which can both increase anxiety and elevate mood. The severe drops in both mood and energy that follow can cause severe irritability in those addicted to smoking. The requirement of cigarettes to attain and keep a certain mood can be a difficult and expensive position.
Personal Emotional Effects- Behavioral
The need to constantly have cigarettes can affect the behavior of smokers and create emotional difficulties. Life events like travel and even long movies must be planned around smoke breaks. Natural disasters like blizzards become less about survival and more about how to get the next smoke fix. This can cause an increasingly difficult life. Smokers may have added anxiety about their personal looks as well, as smoking can cause premature aging and yellow teeth.
Family Stresses- Medical
The emotional toll on loved ones of smokers most commonly comes if the smoker ends up with one of the many life-threatening diseases that are caused by tobacco use. The stress of having a loved one with a deadly or debilitating condition can weigh on finances, time, and emotional concern. The early death of those family members due to cigarette use can cause even bigger emotional harm. If someone loses a parent at an early developmental stage to tobacco use, it can cause emotional damage that may take a lifetime to overcome.
Family Stresses- Behavioral
The difficulty of dealing with an addicted person, regardless of the substance that they are addicted to, can be emotionally challenging. Locations like national parks that ban smoking completely are off limits as a vacation spot. Trips and activities must include time for smoke breaks, or run the risk of having an angry and irritated companion. This can cut into spontaneity severely. Also, the amount of money that is used in your family budget to support a nicotine habit can result in poorer food choices, limited spending money and high medical bills. All of these things can lead to a much more stressful family environment, and cause long-term emotional stresses on everyone living in the household, whether or not they are smokers. In many ways, this makes loving a smoker as stressful as being a smoker.
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Mohammed Looti, PSYCHOLOGICAL SCALES (2023) The Emotional Effects of Smoking. Retrieved from https://scales.arabpsychology.com/terms/the-emotional-effects-of-smoking/. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.31575.96163