Warning: smoking is sad for your health

The nicotine buzz that seems to lift your mood wears off more quickly than you might think.

A new study suggests that persistent smokers may have a higher risk of depression than people who’ve never smoked. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Helsinki, also found that smokers who quit have an elevated risk of depressive symptoms in the short term.

Using data collected by the Finnish Adult Twin Cohort Project, researchers analysed the behaviour of about 9,000 smoking and non-smoking twins, whose health had been followed for 15 years. The results suggest that chronic smoking may have a role in the etiology of depression. However, while persistent chronic cigarette smoking predicts depressive symptoms, when adjusted for other factors associated with depression, the elevated risk of persistent smoking was only significant among men.

The study also found that smokers who quit had elevated depression risk in the short term, suggesting that those who return to cigarettes may be doing so to alleviate depressive symptoms. However, smokers who had quit successfully and remained abstinent through the follow-up did not have elevated depression risk.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't copy articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.