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Quitting Smoking Can Reduce Anxiety

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Quitting Smoking Can Reduce Anxiety

Even though smokers may feel that smoking calms them, quitting smoking actually reduces anxiety.

If you need another reason to put down that cigarette, here it is: even though smokers may feel that smoking calms them, quitting smoking actually reduces anxiety.

This conclusion comes from a new study in the British Journal of Psychiatry, which tracked nearly 500 English smokers who attended stop-smoking clinics. After six months the 68 smokers who had quit experienced a significant decrease in levels of anxiety, according to news sources. Among those with mood or anxiety disorders, the effect was greater.

The study’s finding is particularly important for smokers who fear that quitting will increase their anxiety, since they feel that smoking calms them.

Although the study found that a failed attempt to quit can increase anxiety, quitting does not: anxiety can indeed be a withdrawal symptom, but after quitting, anxiety episodes are greatly reduced. The study authors conclude that “These data contradict the assumption that smoking is a stress reliever, but suggest that failure of a quit attempt may generate anxiety.”

Is quitting smoking one of your New Year’s resolutions?

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