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."
The interesting thing for me is that the tobacco industry knew this also, long ago.
Absolutely. What unnerves me when people defend that industry making the libertarian "personal responsibility" and "everyone knows smoking kills you" arguments is that, while surely everyone knows smoking can kill you, I can tell you with absolute certainty that many people are still very misinformed as to just how addictive cigarettes are...and it wasn't long ago that the tobacco industry was still denying that one up and down, in front of Congress no less.
I started smoking by simply grubbing one here and there from friends. When I realized that was becoming too common (after literally a few weeks of that), I realized I needed to stop...and I did...fifteen years later.
Nobody smokes their first cigarette saying "Cool, I'm going to do this chronically until it kills me", but rather become smokers inadvertently...many of them in large part due to this misinformation campaign.