Smoking doesn't make you happy

March 6, 2008

If you are planning to ignore the messages of national No Smoking Day on 12th March by claiming that smoking is one of the few pleasures left to you, then recent research from the Peninsula Medical School in the South West of England may make you think again.

Extensive research carried out by Dr Iain Lang at the Peninsula Medical School looked at the relationship between smoking and psychological wellbeing. Dr Lang and colleagues used a measure of quality of life called the CASP-19 and found that smokers experienced lower average levels of pleasure and life satisfaction compared with non-smokers. The difference was even more pronounced in smokers from lower socio-economic groups.

In short – smoking doesn’t make you happy.

Dr. Lang and his team carried out a study involving 9176 individuals aged 50 or over, who took part in ELSA, the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. The studies for the research categorised people as never-smokers, ex-smokers and current smokers, and used household wealth as an indicator for socio-economic position.

Said Dr. Lang: “We found no evidence to support the claim that smoking is associated with pleasure, either in people from lower socio-economic groups or in the general population.”

He added: “People may feel like they’re getting pleasure when they smoke a cigarette but in fact smokers are likely to be less happy overall – the pleasure they feel from having a smoke comes only because they’re addicted. These results show smoking doesn’t make you happy – in fact, it is associated with poorer overall quality of life. Anyone thinking of giving up smoking should understand that quitting will be better for them in terms of their well-being – as well as their physical health – in the long-run.”

Source: The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry

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