1. Many people say they are using tobacco to reduce stress. Ironically, much of this stress is due to the tobacco addiction itself:
Tobacco is a highly addictive drug. As such, the average smoker quickly begins drug withdrawal within minutes of ending a cigarette. The actual process of withdrawal varies as greatly as with any other drug withdrawal but include anxiety, stress, nervousness, panic, and mood swings. Many smokers report themselves having addictive compulsive personalities before quitting. Within two weeks of stopping, this self-image begins to shift to feeling more in control and less compulsive. Wthin a month, not one person in my classes who has succesfully stopped smoking describe themselves as addictive-compulsive.
2. The reality behind the difficulty people have giving up tobacco is that it is a real drug that produces several effects that at the end of the day people are not willing to give up. Tobacco does make you high and does give you a feeling of energy. It does sometimes seem to heighten awareness. It can produce a feeling of euphoria.
For some people, the first symptom noticed after the first 7-10 days of being smoke-free is a feeling of lassitude, dullness and depression. A habitual drug user might say they were "crashing" and needed a fix. Feelings of tiredness can persist for months and may worsen during the succeeding weeks. During this period, the new ex-smoker may consciously or unconsciously increase other stimulants such as sugar, candy, coffee.
The need for stimulants will gradually lessen as the body finds a new and healthy level of functioning. Unfortunately, some people have great difficulty transitioning. Women can be especially vulnerable since the ingestion of sugar or other food stimulants will mean weight gain.
It is not possible to provide an ex-smoker with a direct substitute for a drug induced high. Exercise is a viable antidote but not a substitute. The "high" derive from exercise is not available 24 hours a day. Cigarettes are a cheap, legal and available high for some people.
In the end, ex-smokers must decide that the "high" may have been a desired side effect but that it must be relinquished in order to become a long term non-smoker. Eventually the body will readjust to a "non-addictive" state but for some this is a very difficult transition.