Quitting Smoking Can Improve Mental Health

JANUARY 24, 2017
Ryan Marotta, Assistant Editor
Pharmacists have yet another reason to promote smoking cessation, as the results of a new study have indicated that smokers with depression can boost their mental health by kicking the habit.
In a previous interview with Plantsvszombies.info, American Lung Association (ALA) Director of Tobacco Programs Bill Blatt, MPH, encouraged pharmacists to ask their patients whether or not they smoke, and if so, to emphasize the importance of quitting.
Blatt also noted that pharmacists can recommend one of several OTC nicotine replacement products (patches, gum, inhalers, nasal sprays, and lozenges) or discuss the possibility of using a prescription smoking cessation medication such as Chantix or Zyban. He added that pharmacists should ensure that there are no interactions between currently prescribed medication and either smoking cessation drugs or tobacco products.
“Pharmacists can make a big difference in the number of people smoking,” Blatt said. “It’s important for them to encourage patients to make a quitting decision.”
For the recent study, published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, researchers from King’s College London and Charles University in Prague analyzed data on patients who attended a smoking cessation clinic in the Czech Republic.1
The researchers noted that patients with depression  who successfully quit smoking experienced notable improvements in their mental health compared with those who continued to smoke. Specifically, nearly two-thirds of patients with moderate or severe depression reported no or minimal symptoms during a one-year follow-up.
Participants were also more likely to remain smoke-free if they returned to the clinic for repeat visits.
The study authors noted, however, that smokers with depression were less likely to quit than those without the condition, suggesting that patients with mental health problems may need additional support to break free of their addiction.
“While there's been an overall fall in smoking rates in recent decades, there hasn't been the same decline among people with mental health problems,” said senior author Leonie Brose, PhD, in a press release. “We hope that 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.”

  1. Stepankova L, Kralikova E, Zvolska K, et al. Depression and Smoking Cessation: Evidence from a Smoking Cessation Clinic with 1-Year Follow-Up. Ann Behav Med. 2016; doi: