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Are there any effective interventions to help individuals with depression to quit smoking?

van der Meer RM, Willemsen MC, Smit F, Cuijpers P
Published Online: 
21 August 2013

People with depression are very often heavy smokers. We wanted to know whether treatments to help people quit smoking are effective for people with current depression or with a history of depression. In this review, treatments were divided into those with or without specific attention to handling depression. We found that smoking cessation treatments with specific attention to handling depression helped smokers who suffered from depression to quit. Psychosocial 'mood management' interventions, where participants learn how to handle depressive symptoms with psychological techniques, were effective in those with current depression and with a history of it. Bupropion, an antidepressant medication to help quit smoking, has been shown to be effective for smoking cessation in healthy smokers. Our findings show that bupropion may benefit smokers with a history of depression as well. However, this was not found for those with current depression. There was a lack of evidence for the effectiveness of other antidepressants to help smokers with a history of depression to quit. There was also not enough evidence for the use of antidepressants in smokers with current depression. Although treatments without specific attention to handling depression, such as nicotine replacement therapy and standard psychosocial smoking cessation interventions, have been shown to help other groups of people to quit smoking, there was not enough evidence to show that they were helpful in people with a history of or with current depression.