Quitting Smoking May Lead To Mental Health Benefits

We already know that there’s benefits to quitting smoking, but are there mental health benefits from tossing the cigarettes out in the trash? According to some studies there might be. On first inspection quitting smoking has its obvious positives. It automatically reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease. Now it’s said, that it may lead to better mental health for someone who has decided to give up smoking.

A study suggests that after researchers reviewed information, people who quit smoking are more likely to improve their mental health. That means that feelings of depression, anxiety and stress are dramatically decreased. On another positive plus side, quitting smoking presents an increase in mood overall including a positive outlook and an overall better quality of life.

Interesting enough, this current finding goes against the stigma that some smokers have used as a way to keep smoking. Before these studies came out most smokers believed that smoking helped relieve feelings of anxiety, depression, and that smoking overall helped smokers to relax and feel more fulfilled.

The smokers were 44 years old on average and smoked between 10 and 40 cigarettes a day. They were questioned before they tried to give up smoking and again after their attempt — an average of six months later.”

“Those who succeeded in quitting reported reduced depression, anxiety and stress and had a more positive outlook on life compared with those who continued smoking.”

According to the British Medical Journal, researchers wrote, “Smokers can be reassured that stopping smoking is associated with mental health benefits. The effect sizes are equal or larger than those of anti-depressant treatment for mood and anxiety disorders.” Researchers have challenged previous assumptions made by smokers, that quitting smoking was bringing on its own set of challenges of their mental state. Researchers suggest that by quitting smoking the symptoms such as depression and anxiety is alleviated after a few weeks without cigarettes.

Although this data is huge for those who are thinking about quitting smoking, researchers warned that the study can’t exactly prove that this cause and effect relationship between mental health and quitting smoking is based on mental health improvement. The researchers of this particular study said that, “many of the studies in their review were smoking cessation trials in which all participants attempted to quit. So in these trials, the decision to quit was not based on mood.”

That said, while e cigarettes are on the rise, compared to date from 1980 smoking is still greater than it was back then.

[Image credit: Ellen Mol / Shutterstock]