Quitting Smoking Improves Mental Well Being, A New Study Finds

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By Bianca Coombs , Christian Post Contributor
December 15, 2011|3:53 pm

A new study by the University Of Wisconsin’s Department Of Medicine has found that quitting smoking improves mental well-being.

Although the finding seems like common sense, mental well-being is not to be confused with physical health. The research points out that many smokers are hesitant to quit because of a belief that their overall quality of life will decline when giving up the pleasurable stimuli.

The study, which was published by the online journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, found that not only does the mental health not decline, but smokers who successfully quit end up feeling happier and the more satisfied with their lives (one to three years after quitting) than someone who has kept smoking.

Professor Megan Piper leads the department of medicine researchers. Piper said, "This research provides substantial evidence that quitting smoking benefits well-being compared to continuing smoking.”

"Smokers might believe that quitting will decrease life satisfaction or quality of life because they believe it disrupts routines, interferes with relationships, leads to a loss of smoking-related pleasure, or because cessation deprives them of a coping strategy,” she told PostMediaNews.com.

The findings were based on an assessment of 1,000 smokers over one-year and three-year intervals. Approximately, two-thirds of the subjects continued smoking, while one third quit. Those subjects who quit smoking scored higher on assessments of health-related quality of life compared to the start of the study while those who continued smoking scored lower on assessments.

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A twist to the study is that both the quitters and smokers scored lower in overall quality of life assessments in comparison to original scores. Questions were based on participant’s regard of self, standard of living, enjoyment of recreation, and home life. But those who continued smoking reported lower assessment scores than quitters.

The study explains the decline in both smokers and non smokers by explaining that smoking in itself may worsen a person's mental health and so can dealing with a personal nicotine habit.

“Our findings suggest that, over the long-term, individuals will be happier and more satisfied with their lives if they stop smoking than if they do not," Piper said in a statement to PostMediaNews.com.

In an email statement to The Christian Post, Professor Piper says there are many ways to quit smoking. For one, smokers shouldn't "do it alone- get help," she says, "Talk to your medical provider about using medications that can double or triple your chances of success. Find someone to help coach you through your quit attempt - this could be a medical provider or a quit line coach. Finally, talk to your friends and family and get support during your quit attempt. Research has shown that the combination of medication and coaching give you the best chance of success."

When asked what other activities smokers can use while quitting, Professor Piper told The Christian Post, "Some people replace cigarettes with as needed medication like the nicotine lozenge or nicotine gum.“ She also described further distracting behavior, like, “Going for a walk or talking to friends or doing puzzles when they would normally be smoking. Some people like to suck on straws or cinnamon sticks or mints or chew regular (non-nicotine) gum. Drinking water also helps some smokers who are trying to quit."

 

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