Quitting smoking equivalent to antidepressants for anxiety, stress

British researchers examined 26 published investigations into the mental health of smokers.

They looked at standardised scorecards for symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress and quality of life, derived from questionnaires completed by volunteers.

The smokers were 44-years-old on average and smoked 10 cigarettes a day. They were questioned before they tried to give up smoking and again after their attempt — an average of six months later.

Those who succeeded in quitting reported reduced depression, anxiety and stress and had a more positive outlook on life compared with those who continued smoking.

"The effect sizes are equal or larger than those of antidepressant treatment for mood and anxiety disorders," said the study, published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Quitters who had been diagnosed with psychiatric disorders enjoyed a similar improvement.

Lead investigator Gemma Taylor of the University of