By Xavior Reyna
Today’s teen smokers may have worse mental health than teen smokers of years past. The group has experienced a spike in depression in recent years, according to a new study.
Researchers found that, among smokers ages 12 to 17, the percentage who had depression increased from 16.0 percent in 2005 to 22.4 percent in 2013. That was the biggest increase in depression seen in the study, which looked at rates of depression among current smokers, former smokers and people who had never smoked, ages 12 and older.
The high rate of depression among teen smokers may make it harder for them to quit the habit, because depressed mood is known to pose a challenge to successfully stopping smoking.
“The very high rates of depression among the youngest smokers, those aged 12 to 17, is very concerning, as it may impair their ability not only to stop smoking, but also to navigate the important developmental tasks of adolescence that are important for a successful adult life,” study co-author Deborah Hasin, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.