Boredom, anxiety, and stress have caused more people to start smoking again during the Coronavirus pandemic despite the dangers involved. While the pandemic has triggered other addictive behaviors such as binge eating and drinking alcohol, the choice to smoke seems counterintuitive.
The World Health Organization (WHO) found a “statistically significant association between smoking status and endpoints of admission to intensive care units, ventilator use, or death.” Smoking causes more deaths than COVID-19, killing more than 480,000 Americans every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Americans have been smoking more during the Coronavirus pandemic as they have been spending less money on things such as travel and entertainment. The use of both cigarettes and vaping devices has increased. The use of tobacco and vaping products has been declining steadily by 4% to 6% annually in the past, but experts now project that this year’s decline will be half that figure.
Psychology Today says that smoking is a form of self-soothing, like the infant sucking its thumb. Neurological research bears out the notion that taking that first drag on a cigarette decreases anxiety. But experts say that it is important to develop less harmful behaviors to deal with pandemic stress. Learning a new craft or hobby that keeps your hands occupied and your mind focused can help.
By developing positive self-soothing habits to replace the ones that are less than ideal, you are not only getting rid of one bad habit, you are actually increasing your resiliency and your levels of stress and anxiety will probably decrease in ways that will surprise you.