Want to be Happier? Quit Smoking

One of the most common New Year's resolutions is to quit smoking, and for those to stick to it, it can dramatically improve your health. If you needed another excuse to quit smoking, here's some more research to give you a kick: people who quit smoking are actually happier and less depressed than current smokers. Researchers at Brown University have found that people who are in the process of quitting smoking are actually happier. This study was published in the in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

According to one of the authors of the study, Christopher Kahler said that, “The assumption has often been that people might smoke because it has antidepressant properties and that if they quit it might unmask a depressive episode. What's surprising is that at the time when you measure smokers' mood, even if they've only succeeded for a little while, they are already reporting less symptoms of depression."

For the study, they studied the attempts at quitting of 236 male and female smokers who were also heavy social drinkers. They found that amongst those who managed to quit, even for a while, they were in happier during the check-ups when they were successfully abstaining from smoking. They also found that once they resumed smoking their moods were considerably lower, even dropping below the level of when they initially joined the study.


The researchers wanted to stress that smoking wasn’t the relief for anxiety that people think it is. Kahler said that, "If they quit smoking their depressive symptoms go down and if they relapse, their mood goes back to where they were. An effective antidepressant should look like that." Quitting smoking can be the key to a healthier, happier you. Make the commitment to quitting.

"Time-Varying Smoking Abstinence Predicts Lower Depressive Symptoms Following Smoking Cessation Treatment"
Christopher W. Kahler, Nichea S. Spillane, Ph.D., Andrew M. Busch, Ph.D.,Adam M. Leventhal, Ph.D
Nicotine Tob Res (2010) doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntq213


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