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Stop Smoking Services Help Improve Mental Health Of Smokers

Update Date: Jan 23, 2017 06:26 PM EST

According to statistical data, out of the estimated 9.6 million adult smokers in the UK, at least three million are suffering from a mental health condition. Furthermore, previous studies have found that quitting smoking might lead to increase in symptoms, recurrence, or even the emergence of depression in smokers. This is why most healthcare professionals are reluctant to advise mental health patients who are also smokers to stop the habit.

However, a recent study found that stop smoking services not only help smokers quit the habit but also help improve their mental health.

The study, conducted by researchers from Kings College London and Charles University in Prague, found that individuals who avail of stop smoking services have higher chances of quitting the smoking habit than those who do it by themselves. Smokers diagnosed with mental health problems like depression reported improved mental health conditions. The study aims to assess the relationship between quitting smoking or smoking abstinence with depression and assess the level of depression after a year of abstinence.

The researchers conducted an observational study using the data collected from a stop smoking service in the Czech Republic. The duration of the study was from 2008 to 2014. The study is published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

The study found patients who were able to successfully quit smoking or abstained from smoking reported lower levels of depression during follow-ups. However, rates of abstinence were still lower for patients with mental health problems, particularly mild depression (32.5 percent) and moderate to severe depression (26.8 percent), compared to patients without mental health problems.

Moreover, smokers who avail of stop smoking services are more likely to remain abstinent if they continued to go back to the clinics.

The researchers also observed that stop smoking services are effective in helping smokers quit the habit. It was also observed that the diagnosis of depression at the start of the treatment reduced the likelihood of the patient to abstain from smoking for a year. The number of visits or treatment sessions attended by the patient was also a strong indicator of duration and success of smoking abstinence.

Overall, people who were able to successfully quit smoking reported improvement in mental health and symptoms of depression was considerably reduced.

The researchers also highlighted the importance of stop smoking services. These services greatly contribute to the success of smokers in quitting the habit of smoking. Furthermore, the services provide specialist behavioral support and provide medication that not only helps patients abstain from smoking but also provide them mental health support.

Dr. Leonie Brose from the Cancer Research UK adds, "We hope the research will help boost mental health services and stop smoking services in the UK giving effective support and medication to those who need it most."

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