Posted by: laughs4dads | November 10, 2010

The Depressing Thing About Teen Smoking

As reported on AOL Health by Deborah Huso, a study conducted at the University of Montreal and the University of Toronto has indicated that teenagers who smoke to ease depression may get more depressed. This is apparently true whether they speak English or French.

According to the study…

  • Teens that are depressed are more likely to smoke.
  • Smokers who used cigarettes as mood enhancers had higher risks of elevated depressive symptoms than teens who had never smoked.
  • Teens who smoked without the expectation of emotional benefit did not exhibit increased likelihood to suffer from depression

So, if I’m understanding this correctly, all teen smokers will be marching toward horrible deaths, but some will be a lot happier about it.

One of the researchers is quoted as saying, “There is evidence from rat studies that exposure to nicotine during adolescence can lead to the development of depression.”

I think you’ll agree that few mental images are more disturbing than that of a forlorn teenaged rat chain-smoking in a corner of his maze, muttering to himself in French.

Anyway, like many other research studies I’ve been reading about lately, this one begs the question: “So what are we supposed to do about it?”

I think that should be the question asked before money is spent on any study. I mean, going into it, you should have an idea of the practical application of whatever you find out. There were only a few possible outcomes of this study:

  1. Teens who smoke because they are depressed get more depressed than teens who smoke because they want to be cool (and, really, isn’t that the only other viable reason?).
  2. Teens who smoke because they are depressed get happier than teens who smoke for other reasons.
  3. All teens who smoke get way too much allowance money because how else could they afford to buy cigarettes these days?

Okay, so we find out that the first statement is correct. Now what? “Honey, don’t smoke, it will only make you sadder. Here, have some weed instead.”

Don’t we have enough reasons not to smoke? I mean, if I’m going to buy a $10 pack of cigarettes despite the fact that it will turn my lungs black, cause gunk to accumulate in my arteries, give me emphysema, make my breath smell bad, instantly kill anyone who hangs out with me, prevent me from going into restaurants, condemn me to a lifetime of huddling outside office buildings in the dead of winter, force passers-by on the street to give me dirty looks, and give me 18 different kinds of cancer, do you think a little extra sadness is going to be a deterrent?

Can’t we spend that grant money on something more useful, like solutions for what makes a teenager depressed in the first place?

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