Quit Smoking for better Mental Health

Children of a parent with alcohol or drug use disorder have a greater risk of intellectual disability, even if the problem only lies with the father, researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden report.

If you are a smoker and feel you are at a loss of memory, better quit smoking. A new study shows quitting smoking improves mental health outcomes among people with and without mental health disorders.

Published in JAMA Network Open, the findings revealed that smoking abstinence between weeks nine and 24 was associated with significant improvements in anxiety and depression scores.

Led by a team of researchers at Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, the study employed rigorous analytical approaches to assess changes in mental health following smoking cessation.


The study used data from a large, randomized clinical trial, the Evaluating Adverse Events in a Global Smoking Cessation Study (EAGLES). This study occurred in 16 countries at 140 centres between 2011 and 2015. However, the secondary data only used data from US-based participants. The study involved adults with or without a psychiatric disorder who smoked. A total of 4,260 participants were included in the analysis, with 55.4% having a history of mental illness, a statement from Oxford said.

Angela Wu, lead author said: ‘”while we are seeing a large decrease of smoking rates over the years in the UK for the general population this is not the case for people living with mental health conditions. The number of people using tobacco have a mental health condition has remained the same since 1993 (approximately 40%). We hope our results can help motivate policymakers and stakeholders to better support smoking cessation in people with mental health conditions.”

Min Gao, co-author said, “we used three statistical approaches to reduce confounding, so that we provided more robust evidence about the effects of quitting it on mental health. Quitting smoking will not worsen and may improve mental health outcomes.”

Bothe of them is researchers in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford.


Paul Aveyard, co-author said, “Many people who smoke cannot contemplate stopping it. . They know it affects their health, but they feel they need cigarettes to cope with stress. This is what people experience every day when they smoke — they feel better afterwards. However, what people perceive is the benefits of smoking are the symptoms of withdrawal from cigarettes. While smoking gives a short-term benefit, it itself is the cause of the problems. Without smoking, mental health improves on average. Our study joins with others that show that when people stop smoking their mental health improves. Those who do not stop it have no improvement.”

He is Professor of Behavioural Medicine at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences commented:

‘‘Stopping smoking is not easy,” said Angela Wu. ‘What we do know though is that you are more likely to successfully stop it when you are supported, whether that is pharmacologically or behaviourally. There are many alternatives and options to help one quit. Counselling, nicotine replacement therapy (for example patches, gum and sprays), and even trying out electronic cigarettes can help. Electronic cigarettes do not burn tobacco, which is the most harmful element of smoking cigarettes, but will still give you nicotine.”


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