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Smokers with depression try to quit more often but find it harder

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 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 nicotine gum (ideally more than one product at a time), or the prescription medicine varenicline (Champix), substantially improves smokers’ chances of quitting successfully.

Research: Depression motivates quit attempts but predicts relapse: differential findings for gender from the International Tobacco Control Study, Jae Cooper, Ron Borland, Sherry A. McKee, Hua-Hie Yong & Pierre-Antoine Dugue?, Addiction, doi:10.1111/add.13290, published 18 February 2016.