People who quit smoking had a greater reduction in anxiety, depression, and symptoms of stress, than those who did not.
A recent review has indicated that approximately 40 to 45% of mental health professionals assumed that smoking cessation would be counterproductive to their patients’ mental states. Similarly, many smokers believe that due to the irritability that results from withdrawal, their relationships would be impacted negatively.

However, the review found that actually people who quit smoking had a greater reduction in anxiety, depression, and symptoms of stress than those who did not. “Smokers often believe that cigarettes are the crutch they need when they feel low, but there is good reason to think that smoking is actually making them feel worse,” said lead study author Dr. Gemma Taylor.

“The daily cycle of waking up with cravings, satisfying the cravings through smoking, only to be back wanting another cigarette within hours has an understandable impact on how people feel. But get past the withdrawal that many smokers feel when they stop, and better mental health is on the other side,” she added.

“From our evidence, we see that the link between smoking cessation and mood seem to be similar in a range of people. And most crucially, there is no evidence that people with mental health conditions will experience a worsening of their health if they stop smoking.”

Meanwhile, multiple studies and health entities, such as the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP), have pointed out that mentally ill individuals have a higher tendency to smoke in comparison to the general population. Hence, they benefit greatly from having extra support in relation to smoking cessation and access to safer alternatives, that would at least decrease the likelihood of them also suffering from smoke-related conditions.

Smokers tend to need higher doses of psychotropic medications

A 2020 article by former stop-smoking service manager at Leicester City Council, Louise Ross, had evaluated the challenges and opportunities faced when supporting smokers with poor mental well-being in their quest to quit.

The third in a series of five, this article reflected on the nurses’ role in offering smoking cessation guidance and support. It started by pointing out amongst other things, that smokers on psychotropic drugs tend to need higher doses of medications. “The tar (and not the nicotine) in tobacco smoke also increases the need for higher doses of some psychotropic medications, so stopping smoking enables some people to be prescribed a lower dose and experience fewer side-effects (NCSCT, 2018).”

UK: ASH Calls For Smoking Cessation Training for Mental Health Staff

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