Does smoking relieve stress? The answer to this is yes and no. Nicotine causes the blood vessels to contract and therefore causes your blood pressure to rise. By causing your blood pressure to rise it causes an increase in your stress. Therefore smoking causes an increase in stress in an already stressful situation. It becomes a self perpetuating cycle.
There is no doubt that smoking can relieve stress but it is not the nicotine, it is the physical hand movement. The actual hand movement of placing and taking a cigarette from your mouth is the adult equivelent of putting a dummy in your mouth. When you were a child your mother would have put a dummy into your mouth when you got upset and stresses, this was strong conditioning and a cigarette becomes the adult equivalent of a dummy.
Deep breathing is a very powerful and underestimated way of relieving stress. If you are in a stressful situation remove yourself from the situation and then take five or six deep breathes. You can’t always remove yourself from the situation but if you can still do some deep breathing then you will find that it will decrease your stress levels.