Not only does their health improve, but people who quit smoking get a boost in their quality of life.
“Quitting is hard, but if you can actually do it, there are a lot of benefits that you might not have thought about,” said Megan E. Piper, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine.
Researchers looked at 1,504 people who took part in a smoking cessation trial in the United States. The authors assessed each participant’s smoking status and quality of life one year and three years after the smoking cessation trial ended.
“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 wrote. “This research provides substantial evidence that quitting smoking benefits well-being, compared to continuing smoking.”
The study’s “quality of life” measures included the participant’s health, personal relationships, self-regard and philosophy of life.
“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,” the study authors wrote.
But despite such concerns, the researchers found that those who quit experienced no such deterioration due to quitting.
On the contrary, quitters scored higher on measures of overall quality of life, health-related quality of life and positive emotions, both one year and three years after cessation, compared with those who continued to smoke.
Successful quitters also reported that they felt they had fewer stressors by the third year, according to the study, which was published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine
Piper said. “This is just a little bit of additional scientific evidence that things will get better if you can get through those first couple of months.”