Tobacco use may trigger more stress..

April 16, 2009 - Canadians hoping to blow off economic anxiety with cigarettes could get burned, according to new research linking smoking with significantly higher-than-normal stress levels. Pew Research Center Social & Demographic Trends survey conducted June 16-July16, 2008 among a nationally representative sample of 2,250 adults half (50%) of all smokers say they "frequently" experience stress in their daily lives, compared with just 35% of those who once smoked and have now quit and 31% of those who never smoked.

Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst for the Canadian Cancer Society: "Many smokers perceive smoking as a way to calm stress, when, in fact, what they're doing is satisfying nicotine cravings and withdrawal. In many respects, smoking — or the delay in having a cigarette — is the cause of stress. Cunningham believes Pew's report supports the need for more educational messages about the link between stress and tobacco use. At the same time, he's not convinced the deepening economic turmoil will necessarily increase smoking rates in Canada, which have remained flat (roughly one in five people) since 2005. "Clearly, a recession is bad news for Canada," says Cunningham. "But less disposable income may be a motivator to quit, or not start."

Debbie Mandel, author of Addicted to Stress, says she's concerned the recession will cause people to "revert to old bad habits of self-soothing," including the use of tobacco products.

Reference: Smoking triggers more stress: Survey by Misty Harris, Canwest News Service, 4/14/2009.