Smoking & Depression

Smokers are more likely to have depression than non-smokers. Nobody knows for sure why this is. People who have depression might smoke to feel better. Or smokers might get depression more easily because they smoke. No matter what the cause, there are treatments that work for both depression and smoking.

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If you or someone you know is in distress or having suicidal thoughts, get help now. Call or text 988 or chat online for 24-hour, free and confidential support from trained counselors.

Para obtener asistencia en español durante las 24 horas, llame al 988.

Mood Changes

Mood changes are common after quitting smoking. Some people feel increased sadness. You might be irritable, restless, or feel down or blue. Changes in mood from quitting smoking may be part of withdrawal. Withdrawal is your body getting used to not having nicotine. Mood changes from nicotine withdrawal usually get better in a week or two. If mood changes do not get better in a couple of weeks, you should talk to your doctor. Something else, like depression, could be the reason.

Smoking may seem to help you with depression. You might feel better in the moment. But there are many problems with using cigarettes to cope with depression. There are other things you can try to lift your mood:

  • Exercise. Being physically active can help. Start small and build up over time. This can be hard to do when you’re depressed. But your efforts will pay off.
  • Structure your day. Make a plan to stay busy. Get out of the house if you can.
  • Be with other people. Many people who are depressed are cut off from other people. Being in touch or talking with others every day can help your mood.
  • Reward yourself. Do things you enjoy. Even small things add up and help you feel better.

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