There are various psychological strategies used by nicotine addicts to cope with reality and to maintain their self-image intact. One of them is displacement - the separation of emotion from its real object and redirection of the intense emotion toward someone or something else in order to avoid dealing directly with what is frightening or threatening.
A healthy person will use many different defense mechanisms throughout life. They only become pathological when used persistently and lead to maladaptive behavior that will eventually threaten the physical and/or mental health of the individual.
Source: Project: Rant!