Giving up smoking may improve mental health
New research from the UK has concluded that quitting smoking may improve not only physical health, but mental health as well.
Scientists analyzed data from 26 studies that assessed people’s mental health before and after quitting smoking. Participants had an average age of 44 and smoked around 20 cigarettes a day. The studies included both people with and without psychiatric or physical conditions. The findings, published in the BMJ, showed that those who had quit smoking demonstrated improvement in the following areas of mental health: anxiety, depression, positivity, stress and psychological quality of life.
Researchers said that there could be multiple explanations for the association between smoking and poor mental health, including both having common causes and smoking potentially worsening existing mental health problems. Another explanation could be that people with poor mental health may use smoking as a coping mechanism.
The link between smoking and mental health requires additional studies, researchers said. Gaining a better understanding of how smoking is detrimental to mental health may help encourage smokers to quit.