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NEW YORK — Compared with those who continue to smoke, quitters are both happier and more satisfied with their health, both one year and three years afterward, than those who continue to smoke, according to new research published last week in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
Smokers hold strong beliefs about how stopping smoking will reduce their quality of life. Positive experiences of smoking cessation, including improved well-being, could be used by clinicians to educate and motivate individuals to stop smoking.
The authors assessed overall quality of life, health-related quality of life, positive versus negative emotions, relationship satisfaction and occurrence of stressors among 1,504 smokers taking part in a smoking-cessation trial in the United States. Smoking status and quality of life were assessed at both one year and three years post-smoking cessation.
Quality of life measures included health, self-regard, philosophy of life, standard of living, work, recreation, learning, creativity, social service, love relationship, friendships, relationships with children, relationships with relatives, home, neighborhood and community.
"This research provides substantial evidence that quitting smoking benefits well-being compared [with] continuing smoking," stated lead researcher Megan Piper of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. "Smokers might believe that quitting will decrease life satisfaction or quality of life because they believe it disrupts routines, interferes with relationships, leads to a loss of smoking-related pleasure or because cessation deprives them of a coping strategy. Our findings suggest that over the long-term, individuals will be happier and more satisfied with their lives if they stop smoking than if they do not."