Newfoundland and Labrador Smokers’ Helpline

mental health and
smoking cessation

There are Multiple Mental Health Benefits Associated with Quitting Smoking Tobacco

There is a strong association between smoking and poor mental health.  Despite this fact, many people who smoke, and report wanting to quit, believe that smoking is good for their mental health. 

Unfortunately, views about smoking predict not only whether or not people attempt to quit but also whether or not they are successful.  Smokers might be less likely to quit smoking if they believe that their mental health will worsen, and health care professionals may be reluctant to provide smoking cessation interventions if they feel that such interventions might negatively impact their clients’ mental health.

However, a systematic review and meta-analysis published in The British Medical Journal documents that, compared with continuing to smoke, quitting smoking was actually associated with significant decreases in anxiety, mixed anxiety and depression, as well as stress.  Quitting versus continuing to smoke was also associated with positive mental health findings, namely a significant improvement in psychological quality of life and a significant increase in positive affect from baseline. 

The strength of these associations is similar for the general public and clinical populations, including those with mental health disorders.  Thus, people who smoke can be reassured that quitting is linked to mental health benefits and health care providers can likewise be confident that smoking cessation is unlikely to worsen symptoms of their clients with mental illness. 

The NL Smokers’ Helpline is here to support people to reach their cessation goals.  Our services are free and are accessible by phone, email, text, and online at www.smokershelp.net.  We also have a web-based app at www.kickash.ca