People who quit smoking feel less anxious, say researchers. Contrary to popular perception, smoking does not relieve stress but quitting it does, a research has revealed.
British researchers measured anxiety levels in almost 500 smokers - before and after they tried to give up smoking.
One in five said that they smoked to help them deal with stress.
All took part in an NHS smoking cessation programme that involved being given nicotine patches and attending two-monthly appointments.
6 months after they signed up for the course, 68 of the 491 still refrained from smoking - and were less anxious than they were before.
However, those who tried to give up and failed were more stressed than they were in the beginning, the Daily Mail reported.
The researchers, from Oxford University and King's College London, said that the belief that smoking was stress-relieving was pervasive but certainly wrong.
They said that the reverse was true as smoking probably caused anxiety and smokers deserved to know this and understand how their own experience could be misleading.
Researchers believe the confusion has arisen as one of the withdrawal effects of nicotine is edginess.
The study has been published in British Journal of Psychiatry.