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Mental Health Symptoms Improve With Smoking Cessation

Anxiety symptoms, depression symptoms, mixed anxiety and depression symptoms improved with cessation versus continuing to smoke

WEDNESDAY, March 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Smoking cessation is associated with improvement in mental health symptoms, according to a review published online March 9 in the Cochrane Library.

Gemma M.J. Taylor, Ph.D., from the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the literature to examine the correlation between tobacco smoking cessation and change in mental health. Data were included for 102 studies with more than 169,500 participants; 63 studies provided data on change in mental health.

The researchers found that compared with continuing to smoke, smoking cessation correlated with an improvement in mental health symptoms: anxiety symptoms (standardized mean difference [SMD], −0.28), depression symptoms (SMD, −0.30), and mixed anxiety and depression symptoms (SMD, −0.31). Smoking cessation also correlated with an improvement in symptoms of stress (SMD, −0.19), positive affect (SMD, 0.22), and psychological quality of life (SMD, 0.11). There was evidence that smoking cessation was not linked to a decrease in social quality of life. Compared with those who continued smoking, those who stopped smoking had a lower incidence of new mixed anxiety and depression (odds ratio, 0.76) and anxiety disorder (odds ratio, 0.61).

“The benefits of smoking cessation on mood seem to be similar in a range of people, and most crucially, there is no reason to fear that people with mental health conditions will experience a worsening of their health if they stop smoking,” Taylor said in a statement.

One author disclosed financial ties to Johnson & Johnson.

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