A new study published on the British Medical Journal has revealed a link between smoking and poor mental health.
Three researchers different universities in the UK, including Birmingham, Oxford and King’s College London.
Results of 26 different adults were analysed by the researchers. They assessed mental health people they stopped smoking and six weeks after.
The average age of the participants was 44 years old and they smoked around 20 cigarettes a day, they were followed up for about six months.
Mental health issues included anxiety, depression, positivity, stress and psychological quality of life.
The study revealed consistent evidence to support the idea that smoking is linked to poor mental health, showing improvements in each mental health area.
It is well-known that stopping smoking significantly reduces major health risks, like cancers, heart problems and lung diseases.
The study found that the effect of stopping smoking is equal to or larger than those of antidepressant treatment for mood and anxiety disorders.
Some smokers that want to stop, continue to smoke as they feel that it helps their mental health. Along with this, some health professionals are often reluctant to deal with smoking in people who have mental problems in case the result of quitting will make it worse.
Paul Aveyard, a professor at the University of Oxford, he hopes the outcome encourage more doctors to talk to their patients about quitting smoking:
“I hope that doctors will not be so fearful of addressing smoking in their patients who claim they need smoking to deal with stress or who have mental health disorders. Helping such people stop smoking is likely to improve not worsen their mental health.”
Although the authors have said that there is no guarantee that all mental health issues are linked to smoking. Gemma Taylor, a Researcher from the University of Birmingham, feels encouraged by the results, she said:
“I believe this research debunks the myth that smoking has mental health benefits. I do hope these findings will motivate people to stop smoking – now knowing that their mental health may improve. Additionally, I hope this prevents people from starting to smoke – now knowing that smoking will not help them relieve stress or unwanted emotions.”
For more information on quitting smoking talk to your local GP or visit smokefree.nhs.uk.