Report Links Teen Smoking, Depression
Teenage Smokers May Also Be at Greater Risk for Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Teens, Smoking, and Depression continued...
Specifically, adolescents may exhibit more nicotine-driven changes in brain
chemistry associated with addiction. Animal studies suggest that teens may
become nicotine dependent more quickly than adults.
While most of the research has involved animals, at least one study of
teenagers suggests that teen smoking leads to depression, and not the other way
The report, released in October 2000, showed a link between smoking and
depression, but it seemed to contradict the idea that teens smoke because they
Rather, the study showed that current cigarette use was a strong predictor
of developing serious symptoms of depression within a year.
Elizabeth Goodman, MD, who led the study team, says the message that smoking
has an immediate, detrimental effect on health is a very powerful one for young
people to hear.
"When you tell teens that smoking will lead to lung cancer in 50 years
or even 30 years, they don't hear it," she tells WebMD. "But telling
them that when they smoke it can make them feel bad is a message they
The CASA report calls for greater restrictions on the advertising and
marketing of all types of tobacco products.
Califano tells WebMD that tobacco companies have found ways around existing
restrictions and are still actively marketing their products to children.
He cites R.J. Reynolds' introduction of a line of flavored cigarettes under
the Camel brand -- such as the citrus flavored "Twista Lime" and the
pineapple and coconut-flavored "Kauai Kolada" -- as among the most
egregious examples of this.
Following complaints from federal lawmakers and attorneys general from no
fewer than 40 states, R.J. Reynolds agreed to stop selling most of its flavored
cigarettes in October 2006.
"No matter how you cut it, selling candy-flavored cigarettes is
targeting children," Califano says. "Things really haven't changed all
that much since the days of 'Joe Camel.'"