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New research shows quitting smoking reduces stress, anxiety and depression

By jspiteri  |  Posted: March 01, 2014

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No Smoking Day is on 12th March and Somerset County Council’s Public Health team is highlighting new research showing that quitting smoking reduces stress, anxiety and depression.

The research findings, recently published in the British Medical Journal, suggest that quitting smoking can be just as effective at tackling depression and anxiety as taking antidepressants.

Somerset’s Director of Public Health, Trudi Grant, welcomed the findings. She said: “While many smokers believe their habit relieves feelings of stress and depression, the latest findings show that stopping could be better for their mental health. People who have managed to stop smoking experienced a significant drop in anxiety, depression and stress compared to those who kept smoking.”

Quitting smoking is associated with reduced depression, anxiety and stress, and improved positive mood and quality of life compared with continuing to smoke. Yet, regular smokers report smoking cigarettes to alleviate emotional problems and feelings of depression and anxiety, to stabilise mood, and for relaxation as well as relieving stress.

It now seems likely that many of these symptoms arise from the continuous cycle of nicotine withdrawal, that is relieved temporarily by a cigarette.

Importantly the findings were as true for people with diagnosed mental health problems as the general smoking population. This means that health professionals should be encouraged to offer help to people with mental health conditions to quit smoking.

• No Smoking Day takes place on 12th March. People requiring support to help them quit should see a NHS Stop Smoking Adviser

during early March, so they have the support and medication that suits their needs in time for No Smoking Day.

• Somerset NHS Stop Smoking Service 0303 033 9840

• The full research paper is available here :http://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g11

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