We all know that quitting smoking improves physical health.
But it's also proven to boost your mental health and wellbeing: it can improve mood and help relieve stress, anxiety and depression.
Smoking, anxiety and mood
It's a common belief that smoking helps you relax. But smoking actually increases anxiety and tension.
Smokers are also more likely than non-smokers to develop depression over time.
Why it feels like smoking helps us relax
Smoking cigarettes interferes with certain chemicals in the brain.
When smokers haven't had a cigarette for a while, the craving for another one makes them feel irritable and anxious.
These feelings can be temporarily relieved when they light up a cigarette. So smokers associate the improved mood with smoking.
In fact, it's the effects of smoking itself that's likely to have caused the anxiety in the first place.
Cutting out smoking does improve mood and reduces anxiety.
The mental health benefits of quitting smoking
When people stop smoking, studies show:
anxiety, depression and stress levels are lower
quality of life and positive mood improve
the dosage of some medicines used to treat mental health problems can be reduced