lhsi writes "A recent publication on the British Medical Journal finds that stopping smoking improves mental health: "Change in mental health after smoking cessation: systematic review and meta-analysis" (CC BY-NC 3.0).
A lot of smokers claim that smoking has mental health benefits; reducing depression and anxiety, and for relaxation and relieving stress. However the study suggests this is likely mis-attributing the ability of cigarettes to abolish nicotine withdrawal as a beneficial effect on mental health. The study notes that some health professionals are reluctant to recommend stopping smoking as a way to help mental health problems due to the fear that it might make things worse, but this study suggests that it actually would help.
The main conclusion of the study:
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."
That is what, I believe, makes for part of the better mental health. In the months after the last time I stopped smoking I felt anxious whenever I felt the flavor of smoke. I discovered I could recognize what brand people were smoking next to me if I had smoked it previously.
After that, I begun to realize that stopping smoking is quite a personal accomplishment. Not like running a marathon, but not that far. The proof is how many people just keep failing at it. And then It felt great to just keep avoiding that next cigarette.
It's almost 10 years now, and I have just completed my first half-marathon. Man, it feels so great that avoiding that next cigarette is easier and easier each year, even if from time to time I get bugged by the flavor of my former favorite brand.
I hope you could experience this feeling too.
After that, I begun to realize that stopping smoking is quite a personal accomplishment.
Quitting cigarettes is the easiest thing in the world.I've done it a thousand times!