Have scientists identified another benefit of nicotine?

Nicotine’s benefits as a cognitive enhancer have been well known for years


Researchers say that nicotine could be valuable in combating a condition known as late-life depression.

Some older people with late-life depression (LLD) do not fully respond to antidepressant medication, and the authors of a new study say that “nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) agonists” (including nicotine) may work as therapy for these individuals.

The condition, which affects those over age 60, is characterized by lower mood and poor cognitive performance. Nicotine’s benefits as a cognitive performance enhancer are well known, and according to the study’s authors, animal studies suggest that the drug “can improve depressive behavior in animal models and improve mood in depressed individuals.”

The authors propose future clinical trials that could determine whether nicotine (delivered via transdermal patches like the popular NRT product Nicoderm) would be beneficial for those suffering from LLD.

The three authors are all from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, and include Paul Newhouse of Vanderbilt’s Center for Cognitive Medicine, who has done considerable research on nicotine. In 2008, he showed that non-smoking ADHD patients who wore a nicotine patch were better able to perform several cognitive tasks than patients wearing a placebo patch.

In 2015, Newhouse began doing research on reducing memory loss in older adults with mild cognitive impairment using nicotine patches.

Jim McDonald
I spend most of my time studying the regulatory, legislative and scientific challenges to vaping, advocating for our right to exist, and talking with others who do the same. Consider me a source for information, and feel free to agree or disagree with anything I say. I love good coffee and sweet Michigan cherries. My childhood hero was Gordie Howe.
  • Jan Kamír

    By my opinion coming from my experience, I started smoking and then vaping because of my depression (partly fixed up with Venflafaxine and arprazolam but still struggling) and that I am obese and cannot stop eating. I didn’t loose weight but what I lost was depression. I don’t self harm nearly as often as I used to (I used to appx. thrice a week, now I am once per quarter of year) and I feel much better. I don’t “market” depressive, anxious or any people to smoke/vape nicotine, just saying it did help me.