Sustained Smoking Cessation Tied to Improved Mental Health

Decreases in depression, anxiety seen, particularly in people with history of mental illness
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THURSDAY, June 1, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking cessation sustained for at least 15 weeks is associated with improved mental health outcomes, according to a study published online May 31 in JAMA Network Open.

Angela Difeng Wu, from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues assessed changes in mental health following smoking cessation using three confirmatory coprimary analytical approaches. The analysis included 4,260 participants from 16 countries with smoking cessation sustained for at least 15 weeks, and anxiety and depression measured at 24 weeks.

The researchers found that after adjusting for demographics and baseline variables, smoking cessation was associated with a decrease in scores for both anxiety (−0.40 point) and depression (−0.47 point) versus continuing smoking. In propensity score-adjusted models, smoking cessation was similarly associated with reduced scores for anxiety (β = −0.32) and depression (β = −0.42). Findings persisted in planned sensitivity and subgroup analyses, with larger effect sizes seen in people with a history of mental illness.

"In this cohort study of people with and without psychiatric disorders, we found that smoking cessation was associated with improved mental health outcomes," the authors write. "Findings like these may reassure people who smoke and their clinicians that smoking cessation likely will not worsen and may improve mental health."

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