The Alliance of Boulder County
on Tobacco and Health

Smoking Linked to Depression in Teenagers

A major study at Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati has proved that smoking can trigger depression in teens. Up until now, the prevailing theory has been that depression causes smoking and a variety of other self-destructive behaviors, but the Cincinnati study proved that, in some cases, it's definitely the other way around.

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics, and followed the behavior of 9,205 American teenagers for a year. Study leader Linda Goodman, M.D., talked to teens who were depressed (according to psychological test scores) at the beginning of the study year, and to the same number of teens who were not depressed. There were an equal number of smokers and non-smokers in each group.

By the end of the year, two findings stood out. First, depressed and non-depressed children were equally represented in the heavy smoking group, proving that, although some teens may turn to smoking as a result of depression, depression does not make nicotine addiction more likely. The second important finding was that, during the study year, mentally healthy teenagers who smoked developed depression four times more often than mentally healthy teenagers who were non-smokers.

Health24 News (Apr 9, 2001)
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by Astara March / Health24News Staff Writer

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