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Quality of life may improve for smokers who quit

December 13, 2011|By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
  • Smokers who fear their quality of life will be worse when they quit, take note: a study shows the opposite may be true.
Smokers who fear their quality of life will be worse when they quit, take… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

Buck up, all you smokers who are trying to quit or thinking about quitting: a study finds your quality of life might improve once you stop smoking.

Researchers found there is a light at the end of the tunnel for smokers who have quit, as several factors that affect their quality of life improve. They followed 1,504 regular smokers for three years after they quit smoking and matched them with daily smokers who did not quit.

People in both groups reported a drop in overall quality of life at the one- and three-year follow-up points. OK, that sounds bad, but stay with us: those in the quit-smoking group had smaller decreases than did those who kept smoking, which indicates they could maintain their quality of life over the years while the smokers' quality of life may continue to decline.

Those who had quit smoking reported higher levels of health-related quality of life at years one and three compared with the beginning of the study while smokers' levels were lower. By the third year the non-smokers said they had fewer stressful situations, while the smokers reported more.

Marital satisfaction stayed the same in both groups, but support by spouses or partners increased at years one and three, and even more so for the group that quit.

The information may be helpful to smokers who won't quit because they're afraid their quality of life will suffer. "The results reported here," researchers wrote, "suggest that smokers who quit successfully, long-term, experience no such deterioration due to quitting and, if anything, see reliable improvements."

The study was published online recently in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

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