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Smoking cessation may be associated with better mental health

Smoking has finally achieved the reputation it deserves as a killer. Even passive smoke from cigarettes can cause serious harm to children and others who spend time around smokers. It is well known that cigarette smoking is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer and other serious pulmonary problems. Recent research shows that cessation of smoking may also be associated with better mental health, reported Washington University in St. Louis on Feb. 11, 2014.

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Health professionals who treat people suffering from psychiatric problems often do not focus on their patients' smoking habits, with the assumption that it’s best to tackle depression, anxiety or substance abuse problems first. However, it has been shown by new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis that people who are suffering from mood problems or addiction can safely quit smoking and that kicking the smoking habit is associated with an improvement in mental health.

Smoking cessation is associated with decreased rates of mood/anxiety and alcohol use disorders reports Psychological Medicine. There was no support in the data from this research which supported the concern that smoking cessation could result in smokers' increased risk of some mental disorders. As a matter of fact, the data instead suggested that smoking cessation is associated with risk reduction for mood/anxiety or alcohol use disorder, even in smokers who have had a pre-existing disorder. This research raises the interesting consideration that the psychological well being of people may also improve if they cease spending time around people who smoke, due to findings that secondary smoke is also associated with serious health hazards.

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