Psychiatric diagnoses among quitters versus continuing smokers 3 years after their quit day

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013 Feb 1;128(1-2):148-54. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2012.08.023. Epub 2012 Sep 17.


Background: People with psychiatric disorders are more likely to smoke and smoke more heavily than the general population, and they suffer disproportionally from smoking-related illnesses. However, little is known about how quitting versus continuing to smoke affects mental health and the likelihood of developing a psychiatric diagnosis. This study used data from a large prospective clinical trial to examine the relations of smoking cessation success with psychiatric diagnoses 1 and 3 years after the target quit day.

Methods: This study enrolled 1504 smokers (83.9% white; 58.2% female) in a cessation trial that involved the completion of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview to assess psychiatric diagnoses and biochemical confirmation of point-prevalence abstinence at Baseline and Years 1 and 3.

Results: Regression analyses showed that, after controlling for pre-quit (past-year) diagnoses, participants who were smoking at the Year 3 follow-up were more likely to have developed and maintained a substance use or major depressive disorder by that time than were individuals who were abstinent at Year 3.

Conclusions: Quitting smoking does not appear to negatively influence mental health in the long-term and may be protective with respect to depression and substance use diagnoses; this should encourage smokers to make quit attempts and encourage clinicians to provide cessation treatment.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Prospective Studies
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Treatment Outcome