Does stopping smoking have a positive effect on mental health?

Does quitting smoking help depression?

A study from Oxford University in the UK looked at the effect of smoking cessation on depression and anxiety.

Although many people say they want to stop smoking, clinicians and smokers are often concerned about deteriorating mental health after quitting. The aim of the study was therefore to assess changes in the mental health of 4960 participants after 24 weeks of smoking cessation. Depression and anxiety scores were measured using a hospital anxiety scale. For the 58% of participants with a history of mental illness, smoking cessation was associated with a slight reduction in anxiety and depression scores compared with continued smoking. After 15 weeks, participants without a history of depression saw an improvement in their overall mental health.

In conclusion, for participants who had a history, quitting smoking did not worsen their anxiety and depression.

A.D. Wu, M. Gao, P. Aveyard, G. Taylor, PhD JAMA Network Open. 2023;6(5):e2316111. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.16111

© Photo credit: Piman Khrutmuang.