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Background: The goal of this study was to determine the association between mental disorders and cigarette consumption and nicotine dependence.

Methods: Data were drawn from the National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), a nationally representative survey of adults (N = 43,093) aged 18 and older. Relationships between specific anxiety disorders, mood disorders, nondependent cigarette use, nicotine dependence among the whole sample, and nicotine dependence among cigarette users were examined.

Results: After adjusting for demographics and comorbid mental disorders, generalized anxiety disorder (OR = 1.16 (1.29–1.51)), specific phobia (OR = 1.35 (1.21–1.51)), panic disorder (PD) (OR = 1.90 (1.62–2.23)), major depression (MDD) (OR = 1.31 (1.16–1.48)), and bipolar disorder (OR = 1.30 (1.09–1.54)) were associated with increased likelihood of nondependent cigarette use. Specific phobia (OR = 1.69 (1.49–1.91)), PD (OR = 1.82 (1.50–2.21)), MDD (OR = 1.59 (1.38–1.84)), and bipolar disorder (OR = 1.71 (1.39–2.09)) were associated with increased odds of nicotine dependence among the whole sample; social phobia (OR = 1.69 (1.19–2.40)), specific phobia (OR = 1.69 (1.43–2.01)), MDD (OR = 1.65 (1.34–2.02)), and bipolar disorder (OR = 2.38 (1.74–3.24)) were associated with increased risk of nicotine dependence among cigarette users.

Conclusions: Specific anxiety disorders and mood disorders were uniquely associated with nondependent cigarette use, nicotine dependence among the whole sample, and the risk of nicotine dependence among cigarette users in the United States. Findings suggest that demographic differences, comorbid mood, anxiety, substance, and personality disorders all contributed to previously observed associations between mental disorders and nicotine dependence, explaining these links in some but not all cases. (Am J Addict 2012;21:416–423)