• Smokers may feel less anxious and stressed six weeks after quitting – a new study today
  • NE urges psychiatrists and ex-smokers to quit
  • About half of NE smokers are highly anxious

Just six weeks – that’s all you need to quit smoking to improve your mood and mental health, according to a new study published in a timely manner for today’s Smoke-Free Day.

As schools return and people in the area think of a new beginning, Fresh and a leading North East counselor psychiatrist urges smokers to quit smoking again.

This comes as Cochrane’s major study found that smokers who want to quit smoking are convinced that quitting at least 6 weeks can improve their mental well-being by reducing anxiety, depression and stress. If they stop smoking, people’s social relations are unlikely to deteriorate. Research has shown that people who stop for at least 6 weeks experience less depression, anxiety and stress than those who continue to smoke. People who quit smoking also feel more positive and have better psychological well-being.

The reduction in anxiety and depression in people who quit smoking is at least as great as taking antidepressants.

While smoking does not help smokers feel better, the British Public Health (PHE) has published new data showing that smokers have worse mental well-being than non-smokers. PHE / Office National Statistics found that in both 2019 and 2020, smokers performed worse than the general population on each mental health indicator. Nearly half (43%) of smokers in the Northeast were found to have high anxiety compared to 38% nationally. .

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable diseases and death in the world. One in two smokers will die from smoking-related illness as long as they do not quit.

It can also reduce the stress of saving money – someone who smokes 10 cigarettes a day is likely to spend about £ 144 a month on tobacco – which means saving about £ 430 for summer trips until June.

To find tips, tools, or advice and support from one of Gateshead’s smoking cessation advisors, search for “Smokefree” at www.gateshead.gov.uk/smokefree

Ailsa Rutter OBE, Fresh Director said: “There is still the clearest evidence of the benefits of quitting smoking to get rid of stress, anxiety and mental health. People with a mental health condition die 10 to 20 years earlier than the general population, and smoking is the biggest reason for this life expectancy difference.

“Many smokers believe that tobacco helps them with stress, but now we know that if you can quit smoking in just 6 weeks, you will not only start to improve your physical health, but also feel less stress and anxiety. This is your best chance. Get the right tools and support to reduce cravings. “

He added: “When schools return and home schooling is over, many parents will breathe a sigh of relief. If you smoke, quitting smoking can give you a fresh start and save you hundreds of pounds by the summer.”

Counselor Bernadette Oliphant, a member of the Gateshead Council’s Council of Ministers for Health and Welfare, said:

“Deciding to quit smoking can be very scary. A non-smoking day is an ideal opportunity for people to take the first step, and it’s really important to know that there is a lot of support that will help people take a positive step. Quitting smoking improves your health, but it also It helps to protect and also saves you money. We would like to encourage people to try it, to be positive and to believe that they can stop smoking once and for all. “

Addiction Consultant Psychiatrist for the NHS Foundation Trust in Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, said Prof. Eilish Gilvarry: “We all know that quitting smoking improves physical health, but it also improves mood, relieves anxiety and stress, and makes you calmer and happier in the long run.

“It’s a common myth that smoking reduces anxiety, but it’s the opposite – smoking affects the chemicals in the brain, so when you’re not smoking, you’re anxious or nervous. You smoke and you feel it relieves stress, but it’s only very temporary and now addictive.” You are now addicted to smoking and this will continue to increase your anxiety.

“You may think that quitting smoking is stressful, but you can take a lot of stress out of it – get help from your local smoking cessation service, use smoking cessation aids and nicotine replacement, or smoking can help, quitting is very important and your local cessation. can talk to you through options.

“If you take a nicotine substitute, you get enough – it’s not nicotine that’s causing the problem, it’s tobacco. The more you achieve every day, the longer you stay out.”

Former North East smoker George Egglestone quit smoking in 2020 after seeing his partner David Ray quit smoking. He has not smoked for 5 months and said: “I used to think that smoking helped me with stress, but now I understand the opposite. Every time I felt stressed, I stretched out my pack of cigarettes, but not now. After quitting, I definitely feel less stressed and calm, and it’s best that I always need to smoke. I lost it. Now I don’t want to smoke.

“One of the first things I noticed was a big difference in terms of health, because now I rarely cough and the cracks in my chest disappeared in bed at night – it was something else that emphasized me and it was great to get rid of it.”

The lead author of this Cochrane Review, Dr. Gemma Taylor of the Addiction and Mental Health Group at Bath University, said: ““Many smokers worry that quitting can disrupt their social networks and cause them to feel lonely. People can be reassured that quitting doesn’t affect their quality of life. People can also worry about quitting. It’s stressful. Evidence shows that Stress is reduced in people who quit smoking, and there may be long-term benefits to people’s mental health. “

Deborah Arnott, CEO of the Smoking and Health Activities: “After a year, we all became some smokers. Maybe it’s the right time to stop smoking, but that’s absolutely the case. People who are trying to quit right now have a higher chance of success, and if you use NRT patches and help like chewing gum, cigarettes or cigarettes If you use the tools. Stop smoking services, you will probably find it easier than going alone. Make sure you are not only healthier and richer, but also happier once you put your withdrawal behind you. “

Mark Rowland, CEO of the Mental Health Foundation: “There is a mental health crisis caused by the pandemic and we need to find many new ways to deal with it. Forcing people to stop smoking can play a role in restoring the nation’s mental health. We are pleased to be there. “