Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body and causes many diseases. Credit: CDC/Debora Cartagena

People diagnosed with depression are about twice as likely to smoke as the general population. A survey of 6811 participants from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the USA, published today in the scientific journal Addiction, found 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.

Health professionals should be aware that smokers with depression may highly motivated to quit but will often need additional support. 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 (ideally more than one product at a time), or the prescription medicine varenicline (Champix), substantially improves smokers' chances of quitting successfully.

Full details of the best methods of quitting smoking can be found in the book, The SmokeFree Formula, by Professor Robert West, published by Orion.

More information: Cooper J, Borland R, McKee SA, Yong H-H, Dugue P-A. (2015) Depression motivates quit attempts but predicts relapse: Differential findings for gender from the International Tobacco Control Study. Addiction 111: DOI: 10.1111/add.13290

Journal information: Addiction

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