Washington: Some smokers have concerns that their quality of life may deteriorate if they stop smoking but research shows that those who kick the end feel more satisfied, happier and healthier than those who continue with the habit.
Study author Megan E. Piper said that “Quitting is hard, but if you can actually do it, there are a lot of benefits that you might not have thought about,”
“If you thought you’d have more stress, that quitting would put more stress on your relationships, or that you’ll feel worse forever, that isn’t the case,” said Piper, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and its Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention.
The findings don’t make specify how much of a difference quitting makes in percentage terms. Still, they show a definite gain, she said. Three years after stopping, study participants who had quit reported fewer stressors and improved mood compared to those who continued smoking.
The study authors looked at the results of surveys of 1,504 people from Wisconsin. 58 percent women, 84 percent white who took part in a smoking cessation study that began between 2005 and 2007.
Participants were assigned to one of six groups, some of them using a nicotine patch, nicotine lozenges, the drug bupropion (Wellbutrin), a combination of those aids or a placebo. All also received counseling to help them quit.
Researchers followed the participants for three years and tested their blood to see if they had actually quit. They also asked about self-regard, standard of living, relationships, friendships and other measures of quality of life.
Overall, quality of life went down for both groups, those who quit and those who kept smoking, but it went down less for the quitters, Piper said. “This is just a little bit of additional scientific evidence that things will get better if you can get through those first couple of months.”
The message is especially important now when people are making resolutions for 2012, she said. “They will be able to get over the loss of smoking — the loss of that friend, the cigarette,” she said.