No Smoking Day call from charity

By Barrie Hudson - 9 March 2021

CharityHealth

Anti-smoking charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is gearing up for No Smoking Day tomorrow - Wednesday, 10 March.

It is encouraging smokers throughout the country to put smoking behind them for a brighter future. 

According to the charity, new evidence shows that smokers who quit for six weeks or more are happier than those who carry on smoking. 

Reductions in anxiety and depression in those who quit smoking are found to be at least as great, it says, as from taking anti-depressants.  

Chief executive Deborah Arnott said: “After the year we’ve all had, some smokers might feel now is not the time to stop. 

"The opposite is true; put smoking behind you and a brighter future beckons. Using nicotine replacement, whether patches, gum or vapes, can help deal with any withdrawal symptoms, which last at most a matter of weeks. 

"Be confident that once you’ve put smoking behind you not only will you be healthier and wealthier but feel happier too.”

The call to quit and feel happier comes as Public Health England publishes new data showing smokers have poorer mental wellbeing than non-smokers. Smokers scored worse than the population as a whole on every mental wellbeing indicator in the PHE dataset, with levels of anxiety and unhappiness increasing between 2019 and 2020. 

In 2019 173,000 smokers in the South West had high levels of anxiety. 

As anxiety increased for the whole population in 2020, this increased to 238,000 smokers in the South West with high levels of anxiety. Smokers in the South West reporting low levels of happiness also rose, from 82,000 in 2019 to 136,000 in 2020. 

Dr Gemma Taylor from the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath said: “Smokers often believe that cigarettes are the crutch they need when they feel low, but there is good reason to think that smoking is actually making them feel worse. 

"The daily cycle of waking up with cravings, satisfying the cravings through smoking only to be back wanting another cigarette within hours has an understandable impact on how people feel.

"But get past the withdrawal that many smokers feel when they stop, and better mental health is on the other side.”

The ASH website is https://ash.org.uk/home/

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