Thursday, November 20, 2014

Great American Smokeout Is a Day to Focus on Quitting the Habit

Today marks this year's Great American Smokeout, a day when the American Cancer Society (ACS) encourages smokers to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. "By quitting—even for one day—smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life—one that can lead to reducing cancer risk," the ACS emphasizes. "Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S.," the organization points out, yet despite all the warnings and data documenting severe health risks, about 20% of Americans still smoke.

And the benefits of quitting smoking are by no means limited to improvements in physical health. "Smoking cessation is associated with reduced depression, anxiety, and stress and improved positive mood and quality of life compared with continuing to smoke. The effect size seems as large for those with psychiatric disorders as those without. The effect sizes are equal to or larger than those of antidepressant treatment for mood and anxiety disorders," researchers have found in a study published in BMJ based on a systematic review of research and a meta-analysis. "Smokers can be reassured that stopping smoking is associated with mental health benefits," the researchers emphasized.

For more on smoking and mental health, see the Psychiatric News article "Smoking Cessation for Patients Called an Urgent Priority."

APA is holding a #YourMH @twitter chat today on smoking cessation in observance of the Great American Smokeout. Join your APA colleagues in responding to questions and comments from the public from noon to 1 p.m. EST. To join, use #YourMH (stands for "Your Mental Health") or @apapsychiatric. If you haven't created a Twitter account yet, click here to do so now. Here's your chance to share your knowledge and insights.


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