Frequent smoking can worsen depression

People with a history of depression who smoke on a regular basis may be more likely to experience repeat episodes of the condition because of their habit, new research has shown. According to an article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, daily cigarette use is a risk factor when it comes to such instances.

Investigators highlighted smoking and a lack of control over life circumstances - referred to as low mastery - as potential causes for previously depressed individuals to return to the state.

Dr Ian Colman of the Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine at the University of Ottawa - which has been operating since 1848 - noted that while a history of the condition is a well-known indicator of future episodes of depression, smoking and mastery are prognostic factors that have yet to be accounted for in clinical practices.

"Future research should evaluate the benefits of including smoking cessation and mastery in existing clinical guidelines for the treatment of depression," he added.

Dr Allan Norris, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "Even with psychological and pharmacological advances in the treatment of nicotine dependency, giving up cigarettes remains difficult for most smokers. 

"The double dependency of physical and psychological elements means that most attempts at quitting end in failure. For some smokers, repeated failure leads to feelings of helplessness, which can trigger depressed mood. 

"But quitting smokers should take heart from the fact that most who have given up permanently have done so only after a few failed attempts."