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Poll Finds Bleaker Outlook on Life Among Smokers

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Smokers often cite a sense of contentment and relaxation as reasons for continuing to light up, but a new Gallup Poll suggests that such happy feelings are the exception for many.

The Gallup-Healthways Life Evaluation Index, which asked smokers and nonsmokers to rate their sense of well-being on a 1-10 scale, found that smokers were at least 12 percent less likely to be “thriving” than nonsmokers.

The findings were exclusive of income level; in fact, being a nonsmoker was found to have the equivalent effect of moving up an income bracket when it comes to well-being, and nonsmokers making $60,000 to $90,000 scored higher on the index than even the wealthiest smokers.

Smokers were more likely to report having been depressed at some point in their lives, Gallup found, and the connection between smoking and depression was most pronounced among the low-income people who took part in the survey.

Smokers also were less likely to report having enough money for basic needs like food, shelter, and healthcare, and scored worse on physical-health measures in most income brackets, as well, Gallup reported.

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