February 7, 2011 - It appears to be a myth that giving up smoking most likely makes you miserable. Brown University researchers found that those who were in the process of quitting smoking were never happier.
PAPER: Time-Varying Smoking Abstinence Predicts Lower Depressive Symptoms Following Smoking Cessation Treatment, Christopher W. Kahler (firstname.lastname@example.org), Nichea S. Spillane, Ph.D., Andrew M. Busch, Ph.D. and Adam M. Leventhal, Ph.D., Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Nicotine Tob Res (2010) doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntq213 ABSTRACT..
Kahler and team examined data on 236 male and female smokers who wanted to give up. They were also heavy social drinkers. They were all provided with smoking cessation counseling and nicotine patches and then set a date to give up smoking. A number of the participants were also given counseling on ways to cut down on their alcohol consumption.
The participants who failed straight away were still followed up throughout the study and were found to be the unhappiest of all the groups. The ones who managed to abstain throughout the study period had the highest levels of happiness, the authors wrote.
Kahler believes it is possible to extrapolate from this study and generalize over the whole population, even though his participants were relatively heavy drinkers. He refers to a 2002 study of smokers who had all experienced episodes of depression in their lives, but did not all drink.
The authors added that the link between happiness and smoking cessation was strong, regardless of whether the participant was drinking less or the same - the constant was successful smoking cessation. The researchers believe that giving up smoking relieves symptoms of depression and that it is a myth to believe smoking eases anxiety.
Reference: Giving Up Smoking Linked To Greater Happiness And Elevated Mood, written by Christian Nordqvist, Medical News Today, 12/5/2010.