Smoking appears to alter mental health in such a way to increase suicide tendencies.

Smoking may contribute to suicide risk

Cigarette smokers are more likely to commit suicide than people who don’t smoke, a relationship that has been attributed to the fact that numerous people with psychiatric disorders, who have higher suicide rates, also tend to smoke. But a new study finds that smoking itself may increase suicide risk and that policies to limit smoking reduce suicide rates.

... suicide rates declined up to 15 percent, relative to the national average, in states that implemented higher taxes on cigarettes and stricter policies to limit smoking in public places.

"Our analysis showed that each dollar increase in cigarette taxes was associated with a 10 percent decrease in suicide risk," said Grucza, associate professor of psychiatry. "Indoor smoking bans also were associated with risk reductions."

From 1990 to 2004, states that adopted aggressive tobacco-control policies saw their suicide rates decrease, compared with the national average. The opposite was true in states with lower cigarette taxes and more lax policies toward smoking in public. In those states, suicide rates increased up to 6 percent, relative to the national average, during the same time period.

"If you're not a smoker, or not likely ever to become a smoker, then your suicide risk shouldn't be influenced by tobacco policies," Grucza said. "So the fact that we saw this influence among people who likely were smokers provides additional support for our idea that smoking itself is linked to suicide, rather than some other factor related to policy."

Although scientists have known for years that people who smoke have a higher risk for suicide, they had assumed the risk was related to the psychiatric disorders that affect many smokers. These new findings, however, suggest smoking may increase the risk for psychiatric disorders, or make them more severe, which, in turn, can influence suicide risk.

"We really need to look more closely at the effects of smoking and nicotine, not only on physical health but on mental health, too," Grucza said. "We don't know exactly how smoking influences suicide risk. It could be that it affects depression or increases addiction to other substances. We don't know how smoking exerts these effects, but the numbers show it clearly does something." [emphasis mine]

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Tags: smoking, suicide

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Replies to This Discussion

One of the FEW good things that came out of being raised mormon.  I never smoked.

However, I want to make it clear that mormonism does a million times more harm than good, in my opinion.  I would have gladly chosen to be raised a smoking atheist, than what I was.

I knew that smoking is slow suicide, but this is extra info. Thanks Ruth!

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