Ditch the Cigarettes to Live Your Life

Smokers who quit had improved overall quality of life

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) There are many physical health reasons to quit smoking, but there are mental health reasons as well. Quitting smoking not only improves health but also quality of life.

A new study shows that quitting smoking improves overall quality of life. Patients surveyed said that they felt healthier and are happier and more satisfied with their lives. This can be another way to encourage and motivate smokers to quit.

"Ask your doctor about what methods to quit smoking are available to you."

The study, involving 1,504 smokers, was led by Megan E. Piper, Ph.D, the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in the US. Researchers looked at quality of life, emotional state, incidents of stress and well-being. The patients were part of a clinical trial on quitting smoking.

Quality of life included standard of living, relationships, health, self-regard and work performance. The questionnaire included questions about health-related quality of life, what is important in life, as well as questions about social, community, friend and family relationships. Quality of life was measured in the 1,504 patients one year after quitting. A follow-up assessment was also conducted three years after quitting.

Many smokers are worried that quitting will reduce their quality of life, according to the study. Some smokers believe that it will interrupt certain routines, they will lose the pleasure gained from smoking, or that they will lose a way to deal with stress.

The results proved otherwise. Smokers who quit long-term had improvements in their quality of life.

Compared to smokers, those who quit had higher scores for overall quality of life, positive emotions and a reduction in the amount of stress. Health-related quality of life was also improved in patients who quit smoking. Patients who quit also had a higher self-regard, either they liked or respected themselves more than those who continued to smoke.

At one year there were decreases in some categories in both smokers and quitters. Over the three years though, smokers had more decreases in categories such as self-regard, health-related quality of life, philosophy of life and recreational activity. Patients who quit smoking may have had decreased scores one year after quitting, but those scores improved over the course of three years, while smokers only saw their scores decrease.

The researchers suggest that smoking may actually make stress or anxiety worse over time.

While the health benefits of quitting smoking are obvious, the psychological benefits should also be highlighted. Doctors can use this to help smokers to overcome whatever fears that quitting smoking will negatively impact their life.

Smokers who quit can live a life they are satisfied with the study concludes. Smokers who quit could live longer, happier lives than those who choose to continue to smoke. When it comes to smoking, quitting is not a bad word. 

This study was published in the December edition of Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 15, 2011
Last Updated:
December 17, 2011