The ESCAPE study
 
 
 
 
 
 

One of the main reasons why smokers with depression or anxiety do not want to quit is because they feel that smoking helps them to cope with their mental health symptoms and other stress. These reasons are often confirmed by health care providers, and up until recently many people with mental health issues have been advised to treat their mental health first, and then try to quit smoking.

 

Studies show that quitting smoking may improve mental health similar to taking anti-depressants

Studies show that smokers with depression or anxiety can improve their chances of quitting while they are receiving support to cope with depression or anxiety. These improvements can occur as early as 6 weeks after quitting. Improvements in mental health might be a big as if you were to take anti-depressants.

 

Improvements in mental health can be explained by breaking addiction to tobacco

Nicotine levels reduce about 20 minutes after finishing a cigarette. Because of this, smokers start to experience withdrawal symptoms soon after having a cigarette, feeling low, or anxiety. Therefore, the smoker is in a constant state of withdrawal, with short periods of relief only when they are actively smoking and shortly after finishing a cigarette.

Smokers can mistake the ability of tobacco to relieve withdrawal symptoms to its ability to relieve stress and feeling low.

 

 
"Smoking and mental health" video​

 
 
Nicotine gum

It is important that you do not use nicotine gum like chewing gum

1. Chew twice, wait for tingle

2. Move between cheek and gums

3. Continue process for 30 minutes

Nicotine gum

It is important that you do not use nicotine gum like chewing gum

1. Chew twice, wait for tingle

2. Move between cheek and gums

3. Continue process for 30 minutes

Nicotine inhaler

1. Inhale into mouth, not lungs

2. It is up to you how many puffs you take, how many and for how long

3. A cartridge will last up to about 40 minutes of intense use

Nicotine mist

1. Unlock the nozzle (slide down the black nozzle, and push gently)

2. Point the nozzle into your open mouth

3. Press down to release mist into your mouth

4. Do not inhale

Nicotine patches

1. Always use a different area of skin to place the new patch 

2. Do not use the same area of skin for at least 7-days

Nicotine mini-lozenge

1. Unlock the nozzle (slide down the black nozzle, and push gently)

2. Point the nozzle into your open mouth

3. Press down to release mist into your mouth

4. Do not inhale

E-cigarettes

Some trial participants might choose to use e-cigarettes to aid quitting smoking. It's important to note that:

  • Research so far shows that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than smoking. See report by Public Health England here.

  • E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, which causes the damage from smoking. They usually contain nicotine, which is addictive but doesn’t cause cancer.

Cancer Research UK animation about e-cigarettes

 

© 2018 by Gemma Taylor, University of Bath. 

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