Volume 94, Issue 20

Wednesday, October 4, 2000


Peeping incidents plague UWO area

Thames toxic blot to be contained

Ottawa students protest tuition changes

Wet/Dry violators to be fined

Smoking may leave you depressed

Alliance MP calls for vote reform

Med students plead for tuition decrease

Smoking may leave you depressed

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

Smoking – it might make you look cool, but a new study shows if you light up, your mind as well as your body may both be in trouble.

Elizabeth Goodman, an adolescent specialist at the Children's Hospital Medical Centre in Cincinnati, said a new study from the centre suggest smoking might be a cause of depression amongst teenagers.

Goodman, the leader of her team, said the study analysed data from a national study on American adolescent health taken in 1995 and 1996. She said the data included 8,704 teens who were not initially depressed and 6,947 teens who were not initially smokers.

Goodman said the researchers made the hypothesis that nicotine or other chemical by-products of tobacco, may have a direct affect on mental health. She said her research showed teens who smoked were four times as likely to develop symptoms of depression.

"The most important thing about this study is it links smoking with bad mental health," she said. "One in five kids who smoked were linked to a form of depression."

Many people think teenagers who smoke do it to make themselves feel better," she said, adding her study shows the effect may be just the opposite.

Richard Garlick, director of communication for the Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse, said a study linking depression and smoking is hardly surprising.

"Cigarettes are the same as any psycho-active substance," he said. "They change the chemicals in your brain. Each cigarette contains dozens and dozens of different chemicals. Who knows what the combination of chemicals do to a person? I'm sure they'll be more studies which lead to negative results."

Naomi Breslau, director of research at Henry Ford Health Systems in Detroit,said Goodman's research is one example in a whole list of studies, including her own.

She said there is little evidence to show depression causes people to smoke.

"I don't think there is a clear causal relationship," Breslau said. "But smoking does something to people's neural biology. If people need one more reason not to smoke, then this is it."

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