Quitting smoking is harder for people with depression, according to a new review.
can make it more difficult to ride out the anxiety, cravings or lack of
sleep that come with trying to quit cold turkey, scientists found. But
extra exercise — even just a walk — could help people quit faster, they
“The review should be seen as a call to arms,” the study’s
co-author, Gregory Moullec, a postdoctoral researcher in the department
of exercise science at Concordia University in Montreal, said in a
university news release.
The study’s first author, Paquito Bernard, of the University of
Montpellier in France, added that he hopes the findings will alert
researchers and clinicians to the “promising role of exercise in the
treatment of both depression and smoking cessation.”
percent of adults in North America are regular smokers, although this
percentage is on the decline. Meanwhile, roughly 40 percent of those
with depression still rely on regular drags, the researchers said.
smokers feel the need to smoke twice as often as smokers who don’t have
a mood disorder, according to the researchers. Those having the hardest
time avoiding cigarettes may be grappling with more mental health
issues than they realize, the authors added.
For the study,
published recently in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, the researchers
said they examined quit-smoking programs for people with depression,
looking for the effect of exercise against relapse and on withdrawal
symptoms. They also reviewed published studies investigating links
between exercise and smoking, and exercise and depression.
investigators found that over 18 months, just taking regular walks can
help ease the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking —
even if it’s not enough physical activity to reduce symptoms of
More research is needed to determine the role exercise
should play in programs designed to help people quit smoking, the study
“We still need stronger evidence to convince
policymakers,” Moullec said in the news release. “Unfortunately, there
is still skepticism about exercise compared to pharmacological
strategies. But if we continue to conduct ambitious trials, using
high-standard methodology, we will get to know which interventions are
the most effective of all.”
SOURCE: Concordia University, news release, July 22, 2014