Tobacco use declined among people with major depression, substance use disorder: NIH

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The rate of tobacco use among American adults with major depression, substance use disorder or both was found to have decreased between 2006 and 2019, according to the results of a study published on Tuesday.

Smoking rates among adults with major depression and substance abuse disorder fell by 13.1 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively between 2006 and 2019, according to The National Institute of Health (NIH).

Wilson Compton, deputy director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), called these results “a public health success story.”

The study was conducted by researchers from the NIDA and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The decline was observed across every age, race, sex and ethnic group except for non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native adults, for whom smoking rates did not decline.

According to the NIH, the findings of this study suggest that national tobacco cessation efforts have reached and benefitted those with depression and substance abuse issues.

NIDA Director Nora Volkow, who was a co-author of the study, said the results showed that tobacco cessation “should be prioritized” along with treatments for substance abuse and depression.

Compton said, “It is crucial that healthcare providers treat all the health issues that a patient experiences, not just their depression or drug use disorder at a given point in time. To do this, smoking cessation therapies need to be integrated into existing behavioral health treatments.”

A link between individuals with mental health disorders and tobacco use has long been observed by medical authorities. According to the NIDA, people with mental illness smoke tobacco at a rate two to four times higher than the general population.

Between 70 and 85 percent of people diagnosed with schizophrenia smoke, along with 50 to 70 percent of people with bipolar disorder. Rates of smoking also tend to be higher among people with low levels of education and people who live below the poverty level, per the NIDA.

Tags depression e-cigarettes Nora Volkow smoking substance abuse Tobacco

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