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Anxiety 'reduced' if you quit smoking

2nd January 2013

A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry has found people who stop smoking experience a "significant decrease" in their anxiety levels.

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The researchers looked at 500 smokers who visited NHS Stop Smoking clinics in England and saw a reduction in anxiety in the 68 who quit smoking after six months.

The team, comprised of researchers from King's College London, Cambridge and Oxford, said that even though many people thought smoking relieved stress, stopping the habit made smokers less anxious.

They said the data could be used to help people trying to stop smoking as a way of reassuring them that it would not make them more anxious.

The researchers did find that people with mood disorders who tried to quit and relapsed did show a "modest degree" of raised anxiety.

The team added that they saw that smokers, particularly people who used cigarettes to "cope" with mood disorders, had a higher likelihood of having a cigarette when they woke up to cope with "withdrawal symptoms, which include anxiety".

They said that smokers who stopped "removed these repeated episodes of anxiety and felt less anxious as a result". 

 

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