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Publication Detail
Differences in happiness between smokers, ex-smokers and never smokers: Cross-sectional findings from a national household survey
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Journal Article
  • Authors:
    Shahab L, West R
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    38, 44
  • Journal:
    Drug and Alcohol Dependence
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
Background: Happiness has become established as an important psychological dimension and not merely the obverse of depression and anxiety. Ex-smokers report that they are happier than when they were smoking but this could reflect biased recall. To date, no studies have examined happiness as a function of smoking status in ex-smokers of varying length of abstinence compared with current and never smokers. Methods: A cross-sectional household study of a nationally representative sample of adults examined the association between smoking status (never smoker, smoker, ex-smoker. < 1 year, ex-smoker. ≥ 1 year) and two standard measures of happiness adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics (N=6923). Results: After adjusting for age, gender and social grade, ex-smokers of ≥1 year reported higher levels of happiness than smokers (p< 0.001) and similar levels to never smokers. Ex-smokers of <1 year had similar levels to smokers. Smoking to feel less depressed (p< 0.001) or anxious (p< 0.044) were the only smoking characteristics associated with lower happiness among current smokers. Conclusions: Ex-smokers who have stopped for a year or more are happier than current smokers and similar to never smokers. Whilst these results are cross-sectional and have to be interpreted with caution, this adds to the evidence that smoking may decrease happiness and stopping may increase it. © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
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