That tobacco causes lung cancer and other forms of cancer has long been established and accepted by the health community and the general populace. Daniel Neal in his essay “Tobacco: Ignorance Is No Longer an Excuse” shows stats of public perceptions to indicate that we have moved on from the period when there was a debate of the dangers of tobacco (Neal, 2011). However, there are studies that have shown that tobacco use has other unwanted outcomes beyond just cancer and the better-known effects of smoking. A number of studies have linked tobacco use to depression.
Jane Collingwood asks the question she uses as the title of her article on the subject, “Can smoking cause depression?” She writes that, “Researchers have made bold claims about cigarettes leading to depression” (Collingwood, 2011). She begins by saying that there has been a long known correlation between depression and smoking. Smokers have a higher rate of depression than nonsmokers. However, as correlation does not prove causation, this has long been attributed to depressed people dealing with their depression with intoxicants such as smoking (Collingwood, 2011).
Researchers from New Zealand University in Otago have strengthened the pool of data demonstrating this link. Their research surveyed a sampling of 1,000 men and women of three different age groups, 18, 21 and 25 years of age. From that group smokers had twice the rate of depression than non-smokers (Collingwood, 2011).
The Mental Health Foundation has come to a similar conclusion. They have looked at the biological causes in which the affects of nicotine could lead to imbalances in the brain that can cause depression. They view the casual link this way, “Nicotine stimulates the release of the chemical dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is involved in triggering positive feelings” (Mental Health Foundation, 2014). The standard model is that depressed people turn to smoking as a way of dealing with their depression. Their competing theory is that smoking might cause the brain to turn of it’s own trigger for making dopamine, and in the long term the supply of dopamine will decrease. They have also shown that most people begin smoking before they show signs of depression, which challenges the prevailing understanding of the link between smoking and depression. (Mental Health Foundation, 2014).
Sobiya N. Moghul wars smokers to “beware” and claims that “smoking causes depression. She cites a 2008 study that surveyed 3,000 people and found that smokers had 6.6 percent increase in suffering from major depression. Likewise quitting smoking can lead to other mental health issues from the withdrawal that included increased stress, anxiety and anger. (Moghul, 2012). More than showing the correlating evidence, she cites ho the nervous system functions and intuits what tobacco may cause. A change to the nervous system has been shown to cause depression and it is fact that nicotine causes changes to the nervous system.
The conclusion here indicates that it is very probable that nicotine can be a cause for depression. Depression is a complicated condition that can stem from a variety of causes. Current research on the issue seems to demonstrate that this is not just a matter of correlation. There seems to be a casual relationship between smoking and depression. This, along with the many established health problems associated with smoking is another negative effect of using tobacco.
It is often found to be low in people with depression, who may then use smoking as a way of temporarily increasing their dopamine supply.
Collingwood, J. (2011). Can Smoking Cause Depression?. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/can-smoking-cause-depression/0007153
Moghul, S. N. (n.d.). Smokers Beware: Smoking Causes Depression. healthmeup RSS. Retrieved February 24, 2014, from http://healthmeup.com/news-buzz/smokers-beware-smoking-causes-depression/16976
Neal, Daniel “Tobacco: Ignorance Is No Longer an Excuse.” 2011, Using and Toulmin Model in Your Argument
Smoking and Mental Health. (n.d.).Smoking and Mental Health. Retrieved February 24, 2014, from http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/S/smoking/