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Smokers who quit smoking for six weeks or more are happier than those who continue with the habit, a latest research has shown.

Reductions in anxiety and depression in those who quit smoking are found to be at least as great as from taking anti-depressants, health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has revealed in its latest research.

The new Cochrane analysis has found that smokers who stop have better mental health than those who continue to smoke.

The study has also noted the fact that benefits could be seen as soon as six weeks and were maintained even a number of years after stopping.

The benefits to mental health were estimated to be equivalent to taking anti-depressants on improving people’s mood.

Dr Gemma Taylor from University of Bath and lead author of the Cochrane study said: “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.

“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.”

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH said: “After the year we’ve all had, some smokers might feel now is not the time to stop. The opposite is true, put smoking behind you and a brighter future beckons.

“Using nicotine replacement, whether patches gum or vapes, can help deal with any withdrawal symptoms, which last at most a matter of weeks. Be confident that once you’ve put smoking behind you not only will you be healthier and wealthier but feel happier too.”

Joanne from Devon, who quit smoking during 2020, said, stopping helped her cope with the mental health impact of lockdown. “Stopping smoking has had a real impact in how I feel physically and mentally. The achievement of quitting has been empowering and I feel less anxious, something I’ve struggled with in the past. To other smoker’s out there I’d say don’t wait, stop now, it won’t be long before you can feel the difference.”

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