Smoking Increases Risk of Suicide

Jan 10, 2008
German researchers found that smoking is linked to higher risk of committing suicide.

The study was based on data of 3,021 people aged 14-24, living in Munich, who were interviewed since 1995. Almost 25 percent of the respondents were non-smokers, 40 percent smoked occasionally, 17 percent were non-dependent smokers and 19 percent claimed to be addictive to smoking.

Among all groups of people, 15 percent of non-smokers reported about suicidal thoughts, while 20 occasional and non-dependent smokers said they wanted to end their lives and 30 percent of dependent smokers thought about suicide.
The link between smoking and suicidal thought was pronounced even more among those who actually attempted to commit suicide.

Scientists excluded other factors that could influence the results, including alcohol and drug use and history of depression. The findings showed that smoking increased the risk of suicidal intention.

It still remains unknown whether suicidal thoughts are the result of smoking or is a symptom. Some experts explain this phenomenon by the fact that nicotine exhausts serotonin, the brain chemical that is responsible for pleasure. Other scientists say that many people with certain personality characteristics such as aggression, neuroticism and impulsiveness are inclined to smoking and suicidal intention.

The study is published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.
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