Smokers Tend to Be at Higher Risk of Suicide: Study Reveals

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By Indrani Bhattacharyya | July 18, 2014 1:32 PM EST

Smoking has quite a few adverse side effects. The latest addition to the list is findings from a new study that said even if a smoker doesn’t have any previous history of psychiatric disorders, they often are at more risk when it comes to committing suicide. Smokers are at two to four time more higher risk of suicide than that of non-smokers.

Reuters
A worker smokes a cigar in the City of London February 9, 2011.

Scientists from Washington University's school of medicine in St Louis established that smoking as a habit can increase the risk of suicide amongst users.

"Suicide rates declined up to 15 percent in US states that implemented higher taxes on cigarettes and stricter policies to limit smoking in public places," said lead researcher Richard A Grucza, an associate professor of psychiatry from Washington University.

This report appeared online in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

The observation reported the strong association between each dollar increase in cigarette taxes and 10 per cent decrease in suicide risk.

"Indoor smoking bans also were associated with risk reductions," Grucza was quoted saying.

With the help of statistical analysis, scientists made a comparison between the rates of suicide in states with stricter tobacco policies to rates in states with more lenient laws and lower taxes.

The data was also used to determine whether people who had committed suicide were probable smokers.

It was learned that suicide risk among people most likely to smoke was related with policies related to tobacco taxes and smoking restrictions.

Grucza would like to have e-cigarettes to come under scanner. E cigarettes mostly deliver nicotine but release vapour without smoke.

Nicotine seems to be majorly responsible to explain the link between smoking and suicide risk, Grucza said.

Like every other addictive drug, nicotine first gives to feel good feling to the users, but eventually they get dependent on it to feel normal.

"And as with other drugs, its chronic use can contribute to depression or anxiety, and that could help to explain the link to suicide," Grucza concluded in the paper.

Gruzca advised smokers to just quit this habit of smoking to enjoy a better health and life.

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(Photo: Reuters / TOBY MELVILLE)
A worker smokes a cigar in the City of London February 9, 2011.
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