Quality of life and smoking

Am J Addict. 2014 Nov-Dec;23(6):540-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1521-0391.2014.12148.x. Epub 2014 Sep 25.


Background and objectives: Smoking tobacco is the leading cause of preventable illness in the United States and around the world. However, much remains unknown about the factors that motivate individuals to smoke. Quality of life (QoL) has become an important measure of outcomes across all medical specialties, in both research and clinical settings. To date, there has not been a critical review of the research relevant to QoL in smokers. In this review, we describe which scales are used to quantify the QoL of smokers, the relationship between smoking and QoL and the positive impact of smoking cessation.

Methods: Fifty-four relevant studies are included in our review.

Results: Low QoL and depression are associated with higher odds of smoking initiation and lower odds of successful smoking cessation. There is a negative relationship between smoking and QoL and the magnitude of this association is related to the number of cigarettes smoked. Secondhand smoke also appears to be negatively associated with QoL. Smoking cessation significantly improves QoL. These findings have been replicated across populations with diverse socioeconomic and cultural groups around the world.

Discussion and conclusions: QoL data promotes smokers and practitioners to become more sensitive to the sub-clinical adverse effects of cigarette smoking, thereby improving motivation to quit, cessation rates, and treatment outcomes.

Scientific significance: Understanding the relationship between QoL and tobacco smoking is important for patients, clinicians, and researchers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Depression*
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life*
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Smoking*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution