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Smoking Prevalent Among Depressed Individuals

Smoking Prevalent Among Depressed Individuals
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights the significant—and troubling—association between depression and smoking. The report, based on findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 2005 to 2008, revealed the following trends.

Compared to adults without depression, people with the mood disorder were

more likely to be current smokers. Almost one-half of depressed adults under age 55 smoked.
more likely to smoke heavily. In fact, they were more likely to smoke their first cigarette within 5 minutes of awakening and to smoke more than one pack of cigarettes daily.
less likely to quit smoking.

What’s more, the percentage of adults who were current smokers increased as depression severity increased. But even those with mild depression symptoms—but no depression diagnosis—were more likely to smoke than other adults.

Of course, an association doesn’t prove that depression leads to smoking or that smoking triggers depression. But, according to experts, smoking habits may help explain the prevalence of heart disease and diabetes among people with depression. Quitting smoking is one positive step you can take to reduce your risks of these diseases.

The good news is the CDC’s report is likely to lead to better smoking cessation services for people with depression.

According to the report, a few studies show that “with intensive treatment, persons with depression can quit smoking and remain abstinent.” Intensive smoking cessation programs may include therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy or antidepressant medications—both very familiar to many people with depression.

In the meantime, if you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit. Even if you tried to kick the habit before, it’s worth trying again. The following resources on smoking cessation may help.

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