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There is a strong correlation between smoking and depression and smoking and anxiety. Smoking does not reduce stress. On the contrary, nicotine is a stimulant that increases heart rate, restricts blood vessels, and increases blood pressure. These are all symptoms of anxiety in the body. Quitting or reducing smoking is good for mental health – you will breathe easier and feel better emotionally! If you’re worried about the effect of smoking or quitting smoking on your mental health, here are some common myths debunked.

Myth: People with mental illness cannot quit smoking OR do not want to quit.

Fact: People with mental illness are just as concerned about the health risks of smoking as other people who smoke. Many are interested in receiving information on quit smoking services and resources. There are adequate supports to help individuals with mental illness to be smoke-free.

Myth: Quitting smoking will harm mental illness recovery or treatment plans.

Fact: Many studies have concluded that quitting smoking does not worsen psychiatric symptoms or negatively impact mental illness recovery. Quitting has been linked to very positive outcomes for those with mental illness.

Myth: Smoking can be useful for people with mental illnesses because they use it to self-medicate, therefore lessening the symptoms of these illnesses.

Fact: Research shows that people with schizophrenia who smoke experience increased psychiatric symptoms, need higher medication doses, and have an increased number of hospitalizations. In addition, chemicals in cigarette smoke interfere with the effectiveness of some psychotropic medications used to treat mental health conditions.

Myth: Quitting smoking will negatively impact treatment for other addictions.

Fact: Involvement in quit-smoking initiatives while in treatment for other substance abuse issues is associated with a 25% greater likelihood of long-term abstinence from alcohol and other drugs, while continued smoking is associated with worse drug outcomes.

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