Research published online in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology links adolescent smoking to depressive symptoms in adulthood. Rats were given either nicotine or saline doses in adolescence. Behavioural changes resembling depression or anxiety, including repetitive grooming, reduced consumption of rewards, and freezing in anxiety-provoking situations, were reported. Even a single day of nicotine exposure had long-lasting effects.
These results represent yet another indication that drug use in adolescence has unusual, long-term negative effects. We found previous studies linking adolescent marijuana use to later psychotic symptoms, and an increased potential for oxycontin addiction in teenagers. The problem is that adolescence is a time of experimentation, when teen brains may be unable to consider the long-term impact of their behaviour, and are instead driven by immediate gratification. Governments are taking steps to reduce adolescent smoking; in our area, it’s illegal to display cigarettes in stores.
Have you spoken to your teenager about smoking? Do you feel that your own early substance use has had an impact on your adult life? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.
You can read more about the study here.