Despite Smokers' Fears, Life is Really Better After Quitting Smoking

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(EmaxHealth) A recent study reveals that contrary to smokers’ fears, an individual’s perception of their quality of life is actually significantly better after quitting smoking. Quitting smoking is the single most important health factor that can add years to your life; and, according to the study, can also makes those added years more enjoyable. Researchers believe that educating smokers about the error of their fears about quitting will motivate smokers toward quitting smoking.

While there are numerous studies and reports about the dangers of smoking and the benefits of quitting smoking, very little has been reported that follows-up what happens to those smokers who were successful in quitting smoking.

This lack of follow-up motivated researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in the US, to conduct a smoking cessation study involving over 1500 participants. The participants were subjected to smoking-related biochemical analysis at the beginning of cessation, 1 year following cessation and 3 years following cessation of smoking. The participants were also provided with questionnaires that evaluated their personal perceptions of:

• Quality of life (QOL)
• Health-related Quality of Life (HR-QOL)
• Relationship satisfaction
• Stressor experience

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What the researchers discovered was that in comparison to continuing smokers, those who had quit smoking showed no differences in their overall marital relationships. However, differences did manifest as significant improvements in the areas of perceived QOL and HR-QOL. In addition, they also reported experiencing fewer stressors in life.

The significance of this study is that it actually reveals that the common fears that smokers use as reasons to not quit smoking are more of a misconception than a reality. Smokers tend to believe that quitting smoking will adversely affect their quality of life and cause additional stress. Typical fears include gaining weight, losing social connections, increased stress to environmental pressures, loss of pleasure and undesirable mood swings.

The researchers state that, "This research provides substantial evidence that quitting smoking benefits well-being compared to continuing smoking. 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."

The researchers of the study believe that their results can be used toward education in smoking cessation programs as motivation to show that in spite of their fears of quitting smoking, that life can truly be better without a cigarette.

Study reference: Annals of Behavioral Medicine
Image Source of Skull with a Burning Cigarette by Vincent van Gogh, : Wikipedia

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