Smoking and Depression Linked

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A new government report shows a strong link between smoking and depression.

The Study

Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data collected from 2005-2008 through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The results showed a surprisingly strong link between smoking and depression among adults age 20+.

The Findings

  • Adults with depression are twice as likely to smoke cigarettes.
  • Smoking rates were similar for men and women with depression, but women without depression smoked less than men.
  • The percentage of adults who were smokers increased as depression increased in severity.
  • Smokers who are depressed smoke more than smokers who aren't depressed.
  • Depressed smokers are less likely to quit than non-depressed smokers.

Why Is This Important?

Depression is a serious and growing problem in America, and its effect on other behaviors and health issues is important to know. A potential reason for this link between smoking and depression is that depressed people are trying to self-medicate with cigarettes, which they may find calming. It may be that getting treatment for depressive symptoms will decrease the need for self-medication and help depressed people quit smoking.

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