An interesting study about smoking cessation and mental health symptoms suggests that quitting smoking IMPROVES mental health and quality of life.
26 studies that assessed mental health with questionnaires designed to measure anxiety, depression, mixed anxiety and depression, psychological quality of life, positive affect, and stress were included.
Follow-up mental health scores were measured between seven weeks and nine years after baseline. Anxiety, depression, mixed anxiety and depression, and stress significantly decreased between baseline and follow-up in quitters compared with continuing smokers: the standardised mean differences (95% confidence intervals) were anxiety −37; depression −0.25; mixed anxiety and depression −0.31; stress −0.27.
Both psychological quality of life and positive affect significantly increased between baseline and follow-up in quitters compared with continuing smokers 0.22 (0.09 to 0.36) and 0.40 (0.09 to 0.71), respectively). There was no evidence that the effect size differed between the general population and populations with physical or psychiatric disorders.
Smoking cessation is associated with reduced depression, anxiety, and stress and improved positive mood and quality of life compared with continuing to smoke. The effect size seems as large for those with psychiatric disorders as those without. The effect sizes are equal or larger than those of antidepressant treatment for mood and anxiety disorders.
© 2014 British Medical Journal Publishing Group Ltd