Opinion Research — 15 March 2017

smokingTeen smokers are more prone to experience depression, according to a new scientific study published in the academic journal “Drug and Alcohol Dependence.” The research also suggests that the frequency of depression in teen smokers has spiked in the last 10 years.

Researchers discovered that the frequency of depression in teen smokers between the age of 12 and 17 increased from 16 percent to 22.4 percent between 2005 and 2013. This was the biggest increase in depression seen in the study, which looked at rates of depression among current smokers, former smokers and people who had never smoked, ages 12 and older.

The study further claimed that the high rate of depression among adolescents makes it hard for young people to quit smoking as the depressive mood is a trigger for addictions.

“The very high rates of depression among the youngest smokers, those aged 12 to 17, is very concerning, as it may impair their ability not only to stop smoking, but also to navigate the important developmental tasks of adolescence that are important for a successful adult life,” study co-author Deborah Hasin, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said in a statement.

Overall, the rate of depression in the U.S. population ages 12 and older increased from 6.9 percent in 2005 to 7.2 percent in 2013. The strange thing is that the rate of depression among current smokers is two times higher than the former smokers who quit smoking recently and people who have never smoked in their lives.

On the other hand, the rate of depression increased among male smokers, from about 6.2 percent in 2005 to 7.8 percent in 2013. The rate of depression among female smokers was nearly twice as high as the rate in men, however, there was no increase in depression among female smokers during the study period.

Originally, the researchers hypothesized that conditions such as depression may be contributing to the slower decline in smoking quit rates that have been seen in recent years. The fresh discovery that depression rates tend to be higher in smokers today than in smokers a decade ago, supports this hypothesis. The new findings also suggest that increases in depression among certain groups, such as teens, could be contributing to the stability of smoking rates, they said.

This piece was originally published on ‘Daily Sabah Health’ March 15, 2017.


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