Smoking also costs smiles!

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Studies prove that kicking the butt helps people become happier

Okay guys! Time to bust the myth: Smoking does not help ease anxiety. Rather it leads to release of stress hormones, according to experts.

And if you think that a 'happy ever after' is just meant for the last page of fairy tales, then you have got to know what researchers at Brown University and the University of Southern California think. Researchers have found that quitting smoking makes people happier, and the effect lasts for as long as they manage to kick the habit. The teams said it showed quitting is not, as many smokers fear, a psychological sacrifice made for the sake of their physical health.

Study author Christopher Kahler from Brown University explains, "If people quit smoking, their depressive symptoms go down. And if they relapse, their mood goes back to where they were. An effective anti-depressant should look like that."

Psychiatrist Dr Dayal Mirchandani agrees, "Smoking takes away from a lot of things. It affects one's sense of smell, taste and even stamina. Once you stop smoking, you begin to recover these senses, and it definitely helps better the quality of life."

Now, the argument is, it's easier said then done. Agreed. But advancements in science could well be the answer. "Nicotine replacement therapy, using gum and a patch together, has been quite effective," informs Dr Mirchandani. Internist Dr Mursalin Shaikh says nicotine tablets are also prescribed to those, who express their desire to quit smoking.

Those who intend to quit, and have tried and failed, or fear failure even before trying, Dr Shaikh advises they take a three-step approach. "First, a strong will power is necessary. Be determined." But he says not to be harsh, as, "Smokers often find it difficult to stick to their resolution to quit due to other problems that come along in the process. Some face constipation if they don't smoke while others lose sleep. Therefore, if you've identified such an allied issue, approach your doctor for a remedy. It makes the process easier," he says.

Study speaks

The researchers at Brown University and the University of Southern California studied a group of 236 men and women who were trying to quit the habit. They received nicotine patches and counseling and agreed to a quit date. Then were then tested for depressive symptoms a week before the quit date and then two, eight, 16 and 28 weeks after that date. Nearly half of the subjects, who never managed to abstain from smoking, remained the unhappiest throughout the study.

The scientists found those who quit and stuck with abstinence were the happiest to begin with, and this elevated mood remained constant throughout. Those who quit temporarily were happy while they were not smoking, but their mood darkened significantly when they gave into temptation.Times of India

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