Smokers suffer more emotionally

By BenefitsPro

By Kathryn Mayer

Here’s a reason to quit lighting up: Americans who smoke are in worse emotional health than those who don’t.

According to Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, smokers have an average “Emotional Health Index” score of 72, much lower than the average of 81.1 for nonsmokers.

That means smokers are more likely to experience stress, worry and depression.

The “Emotional Health Index” is a subcomponent of the overall index and includes 10 items, asking respondents whether they experienced the following “during a lot of the day yesterday:” smiling or laughter, learning or doing something interesting, being treated with respect, enjoyment, happiness, worry, sadness, anger and stress— and clinical diagnosis of depression.

Smokers are less likely than nonsmokers to report experiencing positive emotions, and also less likely to say they’re treated with respect. Gallup has found that one in four Americans have less respect for smokers, and this social disapproval may negatively affect how smokers actually are treated or how they perceive they’re treated.

Researchers noted it isn’t clear whether experiencing these negative emotions leads people to start or continue smoking, or whether the act of smoking makes smokers more likely to report experiencing these negative emotions.

Poor emotional health comes despite smokers’ income level.

“This means that socioeconomic status alone does not account for the differences in emotional health between smokers and nonsmokers; rather there is something else about being a smoker that relates to having worse emotional health,” the report notes.

Smoking rates continue to decline in the United States, with 19.1 percent of Americans currently reporting that they smoke. Still, smoking continues to be a costly problem. According to the CDC, smoking-related illness in the U.S. costs $96 billion in medical costs and $97 billion in lost productivity each year.

Gallup’s findings are based on more than 83,000 interviews conducted Jan. 3-June 18 collected as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

Originally published on