Quitting smoking is associated with improved mood and reduced depression, anxiety, and stress.
Smoking cessation is associated with reduced depression, anxiety, and stress and improved mood and quality of life compared with continuous smoking, according to a study published in BMJ.
Researchers from Birmingham, Oxford, and King’s College London Universities conducted a meta-analysis of 26 studies that evaluated the mental health of adult (average 48% men, average age: 44) smokers (average: 20 cigarettes per day) at cessation and a follow up session (median: 6 months later). The participants were part of the general population as well as patients with chronic psychiatric and/or physical conditions.
Investigators found that stopping smoking is associated with improvements in depression, anxiety, stress, psychological quality of life, and positivity. The effects appear to be similar for smokers with psychiatric disorders to those without, as well as those on antidepressant medication for mood and anxiety disorders.
Researchers also noted in the study that attempting to quit smoking and failing could lead to disappointment and worse overall mental health.
Some smokers believe that smoking is a way to deal with anxiety, depression, or irritability but “smokers can be reassured that stopping smoking is associated with mental health benefits,” said the authors of the study. “This could overcome barriers that clinicians have toward intervening with smokers with mental health problems. Furthermore, challenging the widely held assumption that smoking has mental health benefits could motivate smokers to stop.”