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Depression, Substance Use Increasing in Former Smokers

2005 to 2016 saw increase in prevalence of major depression; marijuana use increased from 2002 to 2016

depressed man

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Among former smokers, the prevalence of depression and substance use has increased over time, according to a study published online Aug. 20 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Keely Cheslack-Postava, Ph.D., from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues examined the prevalence and trends over time in depression, marijuana use, and alcohol use problems among former smokers using data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Former smokers had smoked ≥100 lifetime cigarettes and no past-year cigarettes.

The researchers found that the prevalence of major depression among former smokers increased from 4.88 to 6.04 percent from 2005 to 2016 (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.01; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.00 to 1.03; P = 0.04). Past-year marijuana use increased from 5.35 to 10.09 percent from 2002 to 2016 (aOR, 1.08; 95 percent CI, 1.07 to 1.09; P < 0.001). There was also an increase noted in past-month binge alcohol use, from 17.22 to 22.33 percent (aOR, 1.03; 95 percent CI, 1.02 to 1.04; P < 0.001); there was no change in the prevalence of past-year alcohol abuse or dependence.

"Increased knowledge of variables linked to relapse among former smokers may help identify areas where clinical and public health efforts can be directed to reduce threats to relapse among individual former smokers, as well as potential barriers to sustained abstinence, and associated health and societal benefits at a population level in the United States," the authors write.

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