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."
It's not a shame to not be able to quit on the first try, it's something that needs practice. Just retry until the need to smoke again is gone.
Absolutely. I quite 28 years ago (after being a serious chain smoker for 15 years). I'd quit once before then for several months and fell off the wagon. The second time I just got up one morning and never lit up again. One mistake I see many make trying to quit is a sort of "beat yourself up" or "I never should have started in the first place" attitude. The fact is that a lot of people become addicted smokers (none of them intentionally), it's difficult to quit, and quitting is very much something to be proud of.
That, and starting a serious regular workout regiment about 21 years ago, are arguably the two most important things I've ever done.