Strictly addressing this as a smoker, I feel like smoking does at least help me with stress. I quit smoking after my husband died for a few months and I was an absolute wreck the entire time. My blood pressure was through the roof, I shook, I couldn't eat or sleep. Not conductive to being stress free!
Smoking is no different than someone that has a cocktail after work to unwind.
Any smoker will tell you that tobacco relieves stress. It gives you a relaxing feel and calms you down. As a former smoker, I can cosign this. Whenever I had a bad day or was going through a stressful situation I would start smoking to even me out. I would even chain smoke sometimes.
I have heard it said that people need a ciggie to calm their nerves. I n all reality, t he nicotine is actually causing their blood pressure to rise. It is a false relief. I would smoke to "calm my nerves," and all I accomplished was to cause my blood pressure to elevate and cause a stroke.
Tobacco is a substance that people can easily become addicted to and brings addicts a sense of stress "relief" when taken, because the person wanted the tobacco so badly. The desire for the substance is relieved, rather than the actual stress the person is feeling.
If a person is under stress, there are healthier and less addictive options available for relieving it, such as exercise, talking with a friend, writing, etc.