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Giving up smoking can boost mental health

Published on 17/02/2014

Quitting smoking has known physical benefits but can also improve mental health, according to a new British study.

Smoking can cause serious health problems

Measuring mental health on levels of anxiety, depression, stress and psychological quality of life, the study found that quitting smoking improved all of these factors.

Smokers who quit reduce their chances of developing cancer and cardiovascular disease as well as increasing their life expectancy. A new study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) suggests smokers who quit can improve their mental health as well.

Some smokers believe that smoking can improve their mental wellbeing as it reduces stress and anxiety. Some healthcare providers have even been reported to be wary about advising their patient to quit smoking as it may impact their mental health.

Smokers may misinterpret nicotine-withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and depression as proof of the physiological benefits of smoking.

The researchers said: “Both quantitative and qualitative analyses indicate that regular smokers report smoking cigarettes to alleviate emotional problems and feelings of depression and anxiety, to stabilize mood, and for relaxation as well as relieving stress.”

“This pattern of behaviour occurs in smokers with and without diagnosed mental disorders. Unsurprisingly, views about smoking predict whether or not people attempt to quit and whether or not they are successful."

The study analysed the result of 26 studies assessing people’s mental health when they were smoking and at least six weeks after they had quit. The people involved in the study had an average age of 44 and smoked around 20 cigarettes a day.

The researchers of study feel that further investigation between the relationship of smoking and mental health is required.

Quitting smoking can reduce your health insurance, life insurance and income protection insurance premiums as well as improve your wellbeing.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2014

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