Tobacco Withdrawal Mood Changes— or Depression?

December 26, 2018
Tobacco Withdrawal Mood Changes— or Depression?

Smokers are more likely to have depression than non-smokers. Experts are not sure why this is. People who have depression might smoke to feel better. Or smokers might become depressed more easily because they smoke. Either way, there are treatments for both depression and smoking.

Find Help 24/7

Sometimes people who are feeling depressed think about hurting themselves or dying. If you or someone you know is having these feelings, get help now. Call a 24-hour crisis center run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)—a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—for free private help, or dial 911.

  • 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) 

For more information, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.

Para obtener asistencia en español durante las 24 horas, llame al 1-888-628-9454.

Mood Changes

Mood changes are common after quitting smoking. You might be irritable, restless or feel blue. Changes in mood from quitting smoking may be part of withdrawal, which is your body getting used to not having nicotine. The mood changes usually get better in a week or two. If they do not, talk to your doctor. Something else, like depression, could be the cause.

Smoking may seem to help with depression. You might feel better in the moment. But there are better ways to try to lift your mood:

  • This can be hard to do when you’re depressed. But your efforts will pay off. Start small and build up over time.
  • Structure your day. Make a plan to stay busy. Get out of the house if you can.
  • Spend time with other people. Being in touch or talking with others every day can help your mood.
  • Reward yourself. Do things you enjoy. Even small things add up and help you feel better.
  • Get support. If you’re feeling down after quitting smoking, it may help to talk about it with friends and family. Your doctor also can help.

More Resources

Learn more about the effect of nicotine on your body and get more tips and tools for quitting at*

*Provides free, accurate, evidence-based information and professional assistance to help support the immediate and long-term needs of people trying to quit smoking.


For one-on-one coaching or to enroll in our QCARE Kick the Nic! stopping tobacco use program, call 800.235.7111 or 501.228.7111 and ask to speak to a Care Manager.

Health plans vary. Check with your employer or plan administrator to see if QCARE is included.