Does smoking cause depression?

Does smoking cause depression?

Does smoking cause depression?

Most folks are at home with the physical health effects of smoking, but can the habit also affect our mental and emotional well-being? a brand new study suggests that it can, after finding a link between smoking cigarettes and depression.

Prof. Hagai Levine — from the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine in Jerusalem, Israel — is that the senior and corresponding author of the study paper.

In it, Prof. Levine and colleagues explain that there are clues in existing research that time to smoking as a predisposing factor to depression.

For instance, depression tends to be twice as likely among those that smoke than people who don't, but it's not yet clear which causes which. Some researchers, however, believe that smoking may result in depression, not contrariwise.

What is more, other studies have found that individuals who had never smoked generally have a stronger health-related quality of life (HRQoL), moreover as less anxiety and depression.

So, to assist shed some light on the matter, Prof. Levine and team decided to check the association between HRQoL and smoking among students in Serbia. Few studies have looked into this association in low- and middle-income countries.

However, quite 25% of individuals living in Serbia and other Eastern European countries smoke, which is another excuse that studying this subject during this population is of interest. Furthermore, a few third of scholars in Serbia smoke.

Studying smoking and mental health




The new study included data from two cross-sectional studies that gathered information from two universities: the University of Belgrade and also the University of Pristina. the previous has around 90,000 students, and also the latter has around 8,000.

Of this total, the researchers enrolled 2,138 students in their study. the scholars took part in regular health checkups between April and June 2009 at the University of Belgrade, and between April and June 2015 at the University of Pristina.

The participants provided information about their social and economic backgrounds — like their age, social rank, place of birth, and parents’ education — also as information on any preexisting chronic conditions. They also provided information about their habits and lifestyle, like smoking status, alcohol use, exercise levels, and eating habits.

The researchers classed those that smoked a minimum of one cigarette per day or 100 cigarettes during a lifetime as “smokers” for the needs of this study.

To assess the students’ HRQoL, Prof. Levine and colleagues asked them to fill during a questionnaire comprising 36 questions across eight dimensions of health. These were:




  • physical functioning

  • role functioning physical

  • bodily pain

  • general health

  • vitality

  • social functioning

  • role functioning emotional

  • mental health


For each of these parameters, a score between 0 and 100 reflected how the interviewee perceived their own mental and physical health.

The team also used the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) to assess the students’ depressive symptoms. The BDI has 21 items, each with a score from 0 to 3.

According to the BDI, a final score of:



    • 0–13 represents “no or minimal depression”

    • 14–19 ranks as “mild depression”

    • 20–28 represents “moderate depression”

    • 29–63 ranks as “severe depression”




Tobacco negatively impacted mental health


Overall, the study found that having the next BDI score was related to smoking. Furthermore, the scholars who smoked were two to some times more likely to possess disturbance than people who had never smoked.

At the University of Pristina, 14% of these who smoked had depression, whereas only 4% of their non-smoking peers had the condition. Among people who smoked at the University of Belgrade, 19% had depression, compared with 11% of these who failed to smoke.

Those who smoked also consistently had more depressive symptoms and poorer condition, as reflected within the “vitality” and “social functioning” parameters.

“These findings highlight the requirement for further research on the interaction between smoking, condition, and quality of life, with implications for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment,” conclude the study authors.

Prof. Levine adds, “Our study adds to the growing body of evidence that smoking and depression are closely linked.”

While it may be too early to say that smoking causes depression, tobacco does appear to have an adverse effect on our mental health.”
Prof. Hagai Levine


He goes on to warn against the perils of smoking, and he encourages policymakers to help prevent these dangers.

“I urge universities to advocate for their students’ health by creating ‘Smoke-Free Campuses’ that not only ban smoking on campus but tobacco advertising, too.”

Author Avatar

About Author

Add Comments