Smoking Linked to Anxiety and Depression

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It’s well known that smoking can lead to lung cancer, emphysema and a host of other diseases. But while lighting up has been associated with helping people to relax or take the edge off stress, new research indicates that the habit can also have a negative impact on mental health.

Smokers are 70% more likely to have anxiety and depression than non-smokers, according to a new report from the British Heart Foundation.

The organization conduced a study that included almost 6,500 people over the age of 40. Results showed that 18.3% of smokers said they suffered from depression and anxiety, compared with 10% of non smoker and 11.3% of former smokers.

“Instead of aiding people to relax, smoking increases anxiety and tension,” Michael Knapton, MD, the foundation’s associate medical director, said in a statement. “When smokers light up, the feeling of reduced stress or relaxation is temporary and is soon replaced by withdrawal symptoms and cravings. While smoking temporarily reduces these cravings and feelings of withdrawal — which are similar to feeling anxious or stressed — it does not reduce or treat the underlying causes of stress.”

A study released last year by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that smoking also increases the risk of suicide, though states that implemented an increase in cigarette taxes saw a decline in suicide rates.

Smoking-related mortality may be higher than previously estimated
Smoking Linked to Anxiety and Depression

Smokers are 70% more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression than non-smokers, despite the widespread view that lighting up is a stress reliever, says a study published on Tuesday.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) report — issued ahead of No Smoking Day on March 11 — says quitting smoking could improve mental health.

The study of nearly 6,500 people over the age of 40 found that 18.3% of smokers reported suffering depression and anxiety compared with 10% of non-smokers and 11.3% of ex-smokers.

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