Smokers 70 Percent More Likely Than Non-Smokers To Experience Anxiety, Depression

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Though many smokers believe that lighting up can help relieve stress and anxiety, new research funded by Cancer Research UK has linked anxiety and depression to smokers. In fact, they are 70 percent more likely to remain anxious or depressed than non-smokers.

The study also found that levels of anxiety and depression were the same among people who had never smoked and those who were long term ex-smokers.

“Quitting smoking could be the key to improving not only your physical health, but your mental health too,” said Robert West, a professor at University College London.

Study found quitting smoking can improve quality of life

The study was conducted and involved almost 7,000 people over the age of 40. Researchers found that 18 percent of smokers reported moderate or extreme depression and anxiety, while 10 percent on non-smokers experienced those things. Levels were also much lower than current smokers.

The results support a review published in the British Medical Journal that found quitting smoking can improve mood and a person’s quality of life. Cancer Research U.K.’s health information manager Dr. Claire Knight backed up the review, noting that smokers were forced to overcome physical and mental hurdles to break the habit, but that that was the best thing to do for their health.

Quitting smoking is a “double win”, according to Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies, since it improves both physical and mental health.

"Ahead of No Smoking Day, these findings are a reminder that the NHS Stop Smoking Service is the best way to increase your chances of quitting,” Knight said. “(It) provides accurate information and support to overcome an addiction that kills around 100,000 people in the UK every year.”

Researchers noted that the findings could influence policy around stop smoking interventions.

Source: Cancer Research UK / Photo Credit: Flickr

 
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