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Smoking and depression

Many people feel restless, sad or irritable after they quit smoking.  These symptoms are often caused by nicotine withdrawal. It could also be depression.

Withdrawl and depression

Smoking and Depression

Depression can happen at any age and to anyone. It’s common among smokers. No one knows for certain why, but there are some ideas.

  • Smoking can make people with depression feel better.
  • Smokers might get depression more easily because they smoke.

There is effective treatment for depression and other mental illnesses. Treatment for depression usually means getting counseling, taking medications or doing both. Your doctor or a qualified mental health professional can help you figure out what treatment is best for you.

Smoking is not a good treatment for depression. In fact, it puts you at risk for more serious health problems.

Quitting smoking is a great way to feel better about yourself. When you quit you will have more energy and more money.

When you decide to quit, making a plan is important. You’ll need to prepare to deal with feelings related to nicotine withdrawal such as mood swings.

Getting counselling and using quit smoking aids like the nicotine patch will help you the most.

If you are on medication for treating your depression, contact your health care provider before you quit. Your medication dose may need to be adjusted.

Withdrawal and Depression

Feeling restless, sad or irritable after you quit smoking is normal. These symptoms are often caused by nicotine withdrawal. These feelings should get better in one or two weeks. Once you get through these mood swings, you’ll feel more powerful to fight the urge to smoke.

If you find yourself feeling very down for more than two weeks, it could be depression. If you’ve just had a baby, it could be post-partum depression. Talking to someone is really important. This can be your family doctor, a friend, or a counsellor from the Tobacco Free Nova Scotia program.

The Tobacco Free Nova Scotia program offers free, confidential and non-judgemental support about how you can quit smoking. We can also connect you with local resources that can help you with feeling depressed.


(Information sources: CAN-ADAPTT,, Centre for Disease Control and Prevention)