A new study funded by Cancer Research UK has found that current smokers are 70 percent more likely to have anxiety and depression than non-smokers. It also reported that heavy smokers who successfully quit have nearly the same depression and anxiety risk as people who never smoked.
Researchers looked at 6,471 people over 40 years old. 18 percent of smokers said they had suffered from depression or anxiety. 10 percent of people who never smoked and 11 percent of people who previously smoked reported depression nor anxiety.
“Quitting smoking could be the key to improving not only your physical health, but your mental health too,” said professor and lead author of the study Robert West.
The findings support recent research in the British Medical Journal, which concluded that quitting smoking could improve a person’s quality of life and mental health, including protecting them from depression and anxiety.
“[Quitting smoking is a] double win—along with all the physical health benefits, smokers’ mental health appears to improve as well,” said Professor Sally Davies.
The researchers hope that smoking cessation campaigns and interventions could use their findings to highlight the effects of smoking on mental health. “Improvement in mental health should be factored into health [and] economic evaluations of smoking cessation interventions more directly,” they wrote.
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