Depression and schizophrenia more likely in those that smoke tobacco

According to researchers at the University of Bristol, individuals who smoke tobacco are more likely to develop mental health issues, such as depression and schizophrenia.

A new report has analysed data from 462,690 people of European ancestry revealed that people with depression or schizophrenia are also more likely to start smoking.

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) revealed that 7,800 people died through smoking in England last year and subsequently, requested more to be done to help smokers with mental health conditions to quit the habit.

According to ASH, smoking is the single largest contributor to the average 10-20 year reduction in life expectancy among people with mental health conditions.

The public health charity also showed that smoking rates are more than 50 per cent higher among people with serious mental health conditions than in the general population.

Dr Robyn Wootton, a Senior Research Associate at Bristol University’s School of Experimental Psychology, said people with mental illnesses are often “overlooked” in public efforts to reduce smoking rates.

Dr Wootton added: “Our work shows that we should be making every effort to prevent smoking initiation and encourage smoking cessation because of the consequences to mental health as well as physical health.”

Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction and Co-Chair of the Mental Health and Smoking Partnership said: “Helping people with mental health conditions to quit smoking is the best way to help them live longer.

“While we have seen smoking rates fall dramatically for the population as a whole over the last four decades, we haven’t seen the same decline for people with mental health conditions.”

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