• female;
  • nurses;
  • psychology;
  • questionnaires;
  • smoking

The aim of this study was to assess smoking habits versus anxiety levels of 114 female nurses. The Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory Scale (STAI, Questions 21–40) was used. Current smokers (n = 52) had the highest levels of anxiety (STAI score: mean ± SD, 43.04 ± 8.48) compared to non-smokers (n = 30), and ex-smokers (n = 32) (38.94 ± 6.45 and 36.56 ± 6.62, respectively; P < 0.02). Differences in STAI scores were greater between non-smokers and ex-smokers (P < 0.01), while the STAI scores of current smokers were positively correlated with their per day quota of cigarettes (Pearson’s: +0.65; P < 0.002). We concluded that even in people who are well-acquainted with the ill-effects of nicotine abuse, smoking habits persist and are correlated with levels of anxiety. Apparently the (perceived) stress-relieving effects of nicotine outweigh anxiety of nursing staff. Preventive programs, if based exclusively on information on the effects of smoking on health, seem to be ineffective. Alternatively, techniques aimed at the relief of anxiety may yield better results.