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Quitting Smoking & the Effect on Mental Health

Quitting Smoking & the Effect on Mental Health
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According to recent research from The National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) the COVID-19 pandemic was a trigger for some to start smoking again. Elements affecting participants within the study include change in routine, social and environmental isolation, change in employment, and financial changes. Participants’ reaction to these changes included boredom, change in tobacco cravings and triggers, and increased stress. Some believe that smoking is a good way of managing stress. However, smoking does not actually reduce stress but speeds up heart rate and increases blood pressure.

Many of our colleagues at LloydsPharmacy have helped customers successfully give up smoking so they can offer credible advice on the best course of action to quit smoking once and for all. People who quit smoking for 28 days or more are five times more likely to quit for good.

Why people think smoking is relaxing?

  • Smoking cigarettes can interfere with certain chemicals in your brain
  • Nicotine cravings make smokers feel irritable and anxious
  • Smokers associate an improved mood with smoking as these feelings are temporarily relieved
  • Quitting smoking reduces these feelings long term as these cravings disappear over time

Smoking and Mental Health

  • People with mental health concerns tend to smoke more than the general population as they can experience higher levels of distress
  • Smokers need higher doses of some antipsychotic medicines and antidepressants because smoking interferes with the way these medicines work
  • Smoking can heighten feelings of anxiety, depression, and irritability
  • Smoking plays a major role in the difference in life expectancy

What are mental health benefits of quitting smoking?

  • Anxiety, depression, and stress levels are lowered
  • Quality of life and positive mood improves
  • The dosage of some medicines used to treat mental health problems can be reduced
  • Those who quit are likely to feel calmer and positive
  • Their stamina and physical fitness is improved
  • Improved sleeping pattern
  • Evidence suggests the beneficial effect of stopping smoking on symptoms of anxiety and depression can equal that of taking antidepressants.

How to deal with the tougher days:

Feeling angry, low, or anxious when you first quit smoking is completely normal. Finding ways to distract yourself on difficult days is vital.

  • Catching up with friends or going for a walk
  • Turn negative thoughts into positive affirmations
  • Focusing on how far you have come in your journey
  • Speaking with someone that can relate to you

Tips On Quitting Smoking:

  • Setting a quitting date
  • Committing to the "not a single puff" rule
  • Having a plan to deal with certain triggers that make you want to smoke
  • Getting support from your GP/Pharmacist
  • Asking your pharmacist about Nicotine Replacement Therapy


How can we help? Try our quit smoking service:

All our pharmacies have well-trained colleagues who are available to give you the best advice and support on your personal quitting journey. There is a broad range of products and support available from LloydsPharmacy stores nationwide. A wide range of Nicotine Replacement Therapy products are available including lozenges, gum, inhalers, sprays and patches. Pharmacists across Ireland hold a unique expertise and opportunity to promote correct and sustained use of these products. This support from your local Pharmacist will help you quit smoking once and for all.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy Products We Offer:


Smoking and mental health - HSE.ie

smoking-cessation-and-mental-health-briefing-document.pdf (hse.ie)
PowerPoint Presentation (hse.ie)
Get help when you quit smoking - HSE.ie
Stopping smoking for your mental health - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Smoking cessation in secondary care: mental health settings - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Health matters: smoking and mental health - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
A Qualitative Study of the Impact of COVID-19 on Smoking Behavior for Participants in a Post-Hospitalization Smoking Cessation Trial (nih.gov)

Cuijpers, P., Smit, F., ten Have, M. et al (2007) Smoking is associated with first-ever incidence of mental disorders: a prospective population-based study. Addiction, 102, 1303–1309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar