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Stop smoking services can boost mental health in people with depression

People with depression who successfully quit smoking using smoking cessation services can improve their mental health, say researchers from King’s College London and the Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.

People with depression who successfully quit smoking using smoking cessation services can improve their mental health, say researchers from King’s College London and the Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. 


Research showed people with mental health problems might need
extra help to stop smoking. Picture: Science Photo Library

Using data collected in a smoking cessation clinic in the Czech Republic between 2008 and 2014, the researchers studied 3,775 people. Data was collected on demographics, smoking characteristics and dependence, quit attempt history and medical history, including self-reported mental health problems. 

Participants also completed a 21-item depression index which showed that 14% had mild depression and 15% had moderate to severe depression at the start of the study. 

Over the course of a year, patients visited the clinic several times. Pharmacotherapy options for smoking cessation were discussed, along with physical and psychosocial dependence on smoking and nicotine, and strategies to reduce exposure to smoking cues and cope with cravings. 

Effective support 

The researchers found that 66% of those who had moderate or severe depression when smoking described no or minimal symptoms during the one-year follow up. Those who received specialist behavioural support and medication provided by the clinic were also more likely to remain smoke-free for a year if they went back for repeat visits. 

However, the researchers noted that people with depression were less likely to quit successfully than those without, and suggested that people with mental health problems may need extra help to stop smoking. 

‘We hope this research will help boost mental health services and stop smoking services in the UK giving effective support and medication to those who need it most,’ said lead study author Leonie Brose. 


Stepankova L et al (2017) Depression and Smoking Cessation: Evidence from a Smoking Cessation Clinic with 1-Year Follow-Up. Annals of Behavioural Medicine. doi: 10.1007/s12160-016-9869-6

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