Depression, Cigarettes and Negative Ions

By: Thomas Fox

How are smoking and depression connected? Is one the cause of the other? Science has shown that smokers are generally more prone towards depression than non smokers. How can employers combat this and help employees be as productive as they can be?

The scientific connection between nicotine addiction and depression has been well documented. A history of depression is a common link between many people suffering from nicotine addiction. Many smokers start as teenagers, when peer pressure and anxiety are at their zenith.

Studies have shown that regular smokers have lower monoamine oxidase A and B activity (Sharma, 2006). These enzymes serve many functions in the body, one being the regulation of moods. Depression has been shown to increase when dependant smokers quit using nicotine.

Besides the time lost from smoke breaks, workplace productivity is severely affected by the depression that accompanies nicotine addiction. The decreased enzyme activity has also been linked to attention deficit disorder. The ups and downs of nicotine cravings further contribute to productivity loss. When a smoker tries and fails to quit, depression increases.

The U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention estimate that $92 billion is lost every year due to cigarette smoking. On average, smokers take 6.16 sick days while non-smokers take 3.86 days per year (Halpern, 2001). These two figures give a small example of lost productivity because of nicotine addiction. Some suggest that the losses are due to the depression caused by nicotine addiction and withdrawal.

Because of this loss, employers would love help their employees kick the habit. But until laws are enacted that completely ban smoking, this is easier to say then do. Fortunately, there are technologies available to employers that can help.

Air purifiers that use negative ion technology have been linked to a decrease in smoking. Negative ions are particles which remove smoke and other contaminants from the air. They attract these toxic substances and attach themselves, causing the combined result to be too heavy to float. No longer able to remain airborne, the contaminant sinks harmlessly to the floor.

Besides the benefit of clean air, negative ions have also been linked to positive moods. One of the ways they do this is by increasing the oxygen flow to the brain. Another way is by eliminating many germs from the air (Mann, 2003). One in three people are highly susceptible to their effects.

Because of the mood enhancing properties, many smokers can be encouraged to quit. The uplifting effects of the negative ions boost their ability to quit smoking, keeping the depression at bay. With the pure air surrounding them, employees who smoke are given a breath of fresh air that invigorates them. They'll be less apt to light up once they realize that cigarettes worsen their depression.

Employers are constantly searching for ways to increase productivity. Millions of dollars are spent trying to encourage employees to quit smoking and get back to work. An air purifier that uses negative ions is exactly what they need to get their employees working at full steam.

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