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Giving up smoking improves mental health

News — Posted 10/08/14

You might think smoking helps calm you down - but research shows quitting smoking is a much better way to boost your mental health.

Contrary to what many believe, quitting smoking can significantly reduce depression, anxiety and stress and improve mood and quality of life, new research from the Black Dog Institute has found. In fact, people who quit smoking experienced improvement in their mood equal to the effect of antidepressant treatment. This is a significant finding that debunks some of the perceived benefits of smoking, and may encourage more people to quit.

“Most understand that smoking is a major risk factor for the development of cancers and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases… but people continue to smoke because they believe that it improves their mental health, helping them to relax and to deal better with feelings of depression, anxiety and stress,” the researchers say. ”Views about smoking predict whether or not people quit and how successful they are if they do, so any finding that challenges the perceived ‘benefits’ of continuing to smoke provides a cornerstone for improved public health.”

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