Depressed smokers don`t kick the butt

A new study has revealed that smokers suffering from depression are less likely to stay tobacco free.

Depressed smokers want to quit the nicotine habit just as much as non-depressed smokers, but the new study found that depression can put a kink in their success.

The study showed that about 24 per cent of surveyed callers to the California Smokers` Helpline currently suffered from major depression and 17 per cent of callers had mild depression.

Over half the surveyed callers, depressed or not, made at least one attempt to quit after calling the helpline.

At the two-month mark, however, the success rate of those with major depression was much lower than that of mildly depressed or non-depressed callers.

Nearly one in five callers with major depression reported success, but of others, nearly one in three was able to remain smoke-free.

Most quitlines do not assess smokers for depression, even though mild depression already is known to reduce the success of quitting. This study suggests that major depression reduces the success rate even farther.

"Assessing for depression can predict if a smoker will quit successfully, but the assessment would be more valuable if it were linked to services," said lead study author Kiandra Hebert of the University of California at San Diego.

Hebert said an integrated health care model is a potential solution. Depressed smokers could have better quitting success if they receive services that address both issues.

The study appeared online and in the January 2011 edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine .