Smoking tobacco has been long known to be a system stimulant but it was only recently that conclusive evidence was found to link smoking to depression. Despite the myriad of physical health warnings many people still continue to smoke and, as recent research points out, the reason could be because people are using it, or expecting it to act, as a mood lifter.
A New Zealand study that surveyed 1000 women and men aged 18, 21 and 25 found that smokers were twice as likely to suffer from depression as non-smokers. Researchers found that nicotine was the causal link in the relationship between tobacco smoking and depression, and that smoking exacerbated depressive symptoms. Although it is not yet fully understood the common belief is that nicotine affects neurotransmitter levels in the brain.
The complexity of the relationship though is that smokers light up more when they are under emotional strain and stress. One theory is that smokers subconsciously light up to improve their mood and an Illinois doctor examined this effect.
In her study she examined three different groups: smokers without a depressive diagnosis ever, smokers who had past and current depression and smokers who had depression in the past. They were all given a positive mood trigger and then given a cigarette with nicotine or a de-nicotinized cigarette. Those who had experienced depression at some point showed an enhanced response when they smoked de-nioctinized cigarettes.
A Pittsburgh study that was conducted found that smokers’ moods did improve after smoking a cigarette but only substantially enough if they had not smoked since the day before. The explanation supplied for this observation is that people’s perceptions are that smoking will improve their mood, calm them down or make them enjoy a social occasion a lot more.
According to a review of Bull Smoke, e-cigarettes were designed to remove the toxic substances from the act of smoking but still allow the smoker to get the social payback they need from the habit. With nicotine being so dangerous it is best if you can stick to nicotine-free e-cigarettes, but cartridges do come in different strengths so you also have the opportunity to start with a higher dosage and work your way to lower strengths if nicotine withdrawal is going to be something you battle with. Many people find that electronic cigarettes provide an opportunity for them to wean themselves off the smoking habit for good, and save them from burning their money in the process.