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Quitting smoking improves mental health, reduces stress, anxiety and depression and improves quality of life, new study shows

Posted: February 14, 2014 |   Comments

( Smoking is sometimes seen by those with mental health issues to have benefits, and some health professionals are reluctant to address smoking in individuals with mental disorders in case cessation causes the problem to get worse. However, as is well known, smoking can cause great physical harm and increases a person's chances of developing cancer or suffering from respiratory or cardiovascular diseases.

In order to find out what effects cigarettes have on mental health, researchers from the United Kingdom analyzed "the results of 26 studies of adults that assessed mental health before smoking cessation and at least six weeks after cessation in the general population and clinical populations (patients with chronic psychiatric and/or physical conditions)," according to a press release on

Taking differences between the studies into consideration to minimize bias, the researchers measured facets of mental health including anxiety, depression, positivity, psychological quality of life and stress. On average, the participants were 44 years old, smoked about 20 cigarettes daily and were followed up for around six months.

The researchers found that those who quit smoking saw improvements regarding depression, anxiety, stress, psychological quality of life and positivity compared to those who continued smoking. This association held strong in the general population as well as clinical populations with mental health disorders.

Although scientists often warn not to infer causation from correlation, the authors of the study write that "smokers can be reassured that stopping smoking is associated with mental health benefits."

So, stopping smoking reduces a person's chances for developing chronic, deadly disease, reduces stress, anxiety and depression and improves mental health and quality of life. That, in addition to the money unnecessarily being thrown away, provides a lot of reasons to quit smoking, or never start in the first place.

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