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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – News With A Twist’s Doctor Rachel recently got a viewer email asking this:

Smoking is the only thing that relaxes me. Isn’t that a good benefit?

The answer: NO!

Dr. Rachel says, “cigarette smoking it the single worst thing you can do to yourself. Please stop. It’s not the cigarette that is relaxing you. It is the action of getting up from your desk, going outside, and taking a break that is relaxing you. You have just associated the cigarette with this relaxation.”

Dr. Rachel says the toxins and nicotine in cigarettes have the complete opposite effect on your body.

Within seconds of inhaling, nicotine alerts your body to release adrenaline which increases your heart rate and blood pressure. Your liver releases sugar to get ready for activity.

Neurotransmitters also are released that warn your body that it is being exposed to stress. All these events make your body more wired.

So why do you feel relaxed? 

Nicotine stimulates your brain to release dopamine which is a chemical associated with pleasurable feelings. As a smoker, you need more and more levels of nicotine to stimulate dopamine to feel ‘normal’.

Dr. Rachel says as the nicotine level in your blood drops; you begin to crave a cigarette. This craving makes you feel stressed until that craving is satisfied. The relief you feel, is satisfying your craving. This is the feeling that you are mistaking as ‘relaxing’.

Do you have an email for Dr. Rachel? Drop her a line at