Smoking increases depression risk

Smokers have a 41 percent higher likelihood of suffering depression than non-smokers, according to a study of 8,556 people conducted

Smokers have a 41 percent higher likelihood of suffering depression than non-smokers, according to a study of 8,556 people conducted by the University of Navarra, in collaboration with the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the Harvard School of Public Health.

While those who suffer depression may be more likely to smoke, drink heavily or indulge in other unhealthy behaviours, this research indicates that smoking itself can contribute to depression. Other studies have reported a similar link. A 2006 University of Oslo study, for instance, found that the risk of depression was four times as high for heavy smokers than for never smokers. Interestingly, the Navarra researchers noted that increased tobacco use was correlated with lower rates of physical activity.

To find out more about depression, read: Are your blues bleaker than most?

It’s never too late to quit, though: the study suggests that those who give up tobacco experience a lower risk of depression. Butting out will also lower your chances of lung, bladder, cervical, colon and rectal cancers, heart disease, stroke and respiratory ailments like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Er, just to name a few things…

Wendy Fox, who wrote about how she quit smoking in the launch issue of Best Health, says couldn’t have done it without a book called Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking. (The book is also endorsed by Ellen DeGeneres.) You can also download helpful quitting tools at smokershelpline.ca and Health Canada.

I personally quit my pack-a-day habit 12 years ago, in part because I fell in love with an avid non-smoker.

What about you? What are your quit tips?

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