Depression Challenges Smoking Cessation but Can be Overcome

A new international study discovers that it is especially difficult for people diagnosed with depression to stop smoking.

Researchers explain that people diagnosed with depression are about twice as likely to smoke as the general population and while they attempt to stop smoking more than others, they are less successful.

Tobacco addiction includes both mental and physical components with cessation efforts having to account for nicotine withdrawal as well as anxiety and stress.

In the new study, researchers surveyed 6811 participants from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the USA.

They discovered that although depressed smokers tried to quit smoking more often than other smokers, they were more likely to return to smoking within a month.

This tendency seemed to be stronger for women than men.

The study appears in the scientific journal Addiction.

Researchers believe health professionals should be aware that smokers with depression may be highly motivated to quit but will often need additional support.

Investigators explain that smoking cessation for individuals with depression is achievable although a detailed approach is warranted.

There is very strong evidence that seeing a stop-smoking specialist (eg, a Quitline advisor) and also using nicotine products such as nicotine skin patch and nicotine gum (ideally more than one product at a time), is effective.

Moreover, the prescription medicine varenicline (Champix), substantially improves smokers’ chances of quitting successfully.

Source: Wiley/EurekAlert
Man smoking photo by shutterstock.