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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