José Miguel Chatkin

José Miguel Chatkin

Pontificia Universidade Católica Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Title: A neglected benefit of smoking abstinence: Former smokers of both genders present lower depression scores


Jose M Chatkin, MD received his doctorate in Respiratory Medicine from the Universida de Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, in Porto Alegre, Brazil and a few years later conducted 2-year postdoctoral studies at the University of Toronto, Canada. He is now Full Professor of Internal Medicine at the Faculdade Medicina PUCRS, in Porto Alegre, Brazil. He is currently in charge of the Respiratory Division at the S.Lucas Hospital, where he does research in Smoking Cessation and Smoking-related diseases. He authored 89 peer-reviewed papers, edited 07 volumes and wrote 43 chapters (until Dec 2011). Dr Chatkin has received 21 national and international awards for his contributions and is one of the pioneers in smoking cessation treatment in Brazil. He has been elected the President of the next Brazilian Congress of Pulmonary Diseases, to be held in 2014.


There is a well-known association between smoking behavior and depression. Such relationship is not completely understood. Depressive subjects may use tobacco as a self medication or smoking itself may induce depressive mood. We aimed to evaluate depression symptoms in former, current and never smokers, analyzing possible gender effects. Methods: Using a cross-sectional design, 1021 unrelated blood donors were selected from October2004 to August2008. Inclusion criteria: European ancestry, 18-65 years old, both sexes. Exclusion criteria: use of psychopharmacological medication, other addictions, major psychopathologies, except major depressive disorder. All subjects completed a self-report questionnaire including demographic characteristics, Beck Depression Inventory Scale and smoking history(status, age at smoking initiation, pack-years, FTND and number of cigarettes smoked/day). Results: Current smokers presented higher BDI scores compared to never or former smokers, even after adjustment (p<0.001). There was no significant interaction between smoking status and gender on depression indices. Females had higher depression scores than males, regardless of smoking status. BDI scores significantly correlated with the Fagerstrom scores (p=0.01) and number of cigarettes smoked/day (p=0.01). Conclusion: Former smokers presented depression scores significantly lower and similar to never smokers. Our preliminary results are consistent with the findings suggesting that former smokers have a better mood than current smokers. However, such interpretation should be cautious, since cause–effect relationships cannot be explained in cross-sectional study. If smokers can be reassured that their mood may actually improve after smoking cessation, once the withdrawal syndrome has ended, this knowledge could motivate patients in their attempts to quit.