What Does Mental Health Have to Do with Smoking?

Research has found that college students dealing with depression are more likely to smoke that those who are not depressed. One study showed that 1/3rd of students said they smoked to manage depression.1 Thus, it is important that we understand the signs and symptoms of depression and other psychological problems such as anxiety, which can lead to poor judgment and lifestyle choices. We also need to know who to turn to for help. Most college campuses have counseling centers to help students, and if they don't, student services can often recommend where students can find help locally. To recognize depression in yourself or someone else, look for:

  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Feeling more irritated than usual
  • Decreased energy
  • Difficulty thinking or staying focused
  • Thoughts of death, dying or suicide


  1. DeBernardo, R. L., Aldinger, C. E., Cawood, O. R., Hanson, R. E., Lee, S., & Rinaldi, S. R. (1999). An e-mail assessment of undergraduates' attitudes toward smoking. Journal of American College Health, 48, 61-66.
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