People who successfully quit smoking report low anxiety levels, says a new study.

The study results contradict the belief that smoking relieves anxiety. Researchers say that failure to quit smoking may lead to an increase in anxiety levels later in life.

The study was based on the data available from nearly 500 smokers who were attending National Health Service smoking cessation clinics in England. All participants were followed for an average of 6 months.

Researchers, from several universities including Cambridge, Oxford and King's College in London, found that people who successfully gave up smoking (68 smokers) had lower levels of anxiety. The drop in symptoms of anxiety was generally seen more in people who had mood disorders than in people who smoked for pleasure.

Cigarette smoking alone causes more than 80 percent deaths due to lung cancer. Smoking is associated with cancers of liver, bowel, pancreas, bladder and ovary as well. Smoking affects not just the smokers but also those around them. Secondhand smoke can cause heart disease, breathing problems, lung cancer and respiratory tract infections.

The study is published in The British Journal of Psychiatry.