Depression during tobacco abstinence

Nicotine Tob Res. 2007 Apr;9(4):443-6. doi: 10.1080/14622200701243185.


Many clinicians and scientists believe smoking cessation increases the risk of major depressive disorder (MDD), especially among those with a past history of the disorder. This literature review located seven empirical tests of this belief. All seven had significant methodological limitations. The incidence of MDD over 7-64 weeks postcessation was 0%-14% among all smokers who tried to stop, 3%-24% among smokers with a past history of MDD who tried to stop, and 1%-31% among smokers who became abstinent. Smokers with a past history of MDD were more likely to have postcessation MDD. Although some within-study comparisons suggest abstinence increased the incidence of MDD, a definitive conclusion cannot be made. Whether treatment with antidepressants prevented postcessation MDD also was unclear. This review makes methodological recommendations for more definitive studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy
  • Humans
  • Psychometrics
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Recurrence
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking / therapy
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Treatment Outcome