Nav: Home

Cigarette smoke damages our mental health, too

January 08, 2020

For decades, doctors have warned us about the health risks of smoking. However, their warnings focused on the physical risks that cigarettes pose to our health, such as lung cancer, heart disease, low birth weight, and high blood pressure, among others. Now, Professor Hagai Levine at Hebrew University of Jerusalem's-Hadasssah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine has published findings related to the mental health risks related to smoking.

The study, published today in PLOS ONE, involved Levine's colleagues Assistant Professor Tatjana Gazibara at the University of Belgrade and Ph.D. student Marija Milic at the University of Pristina. Together, they surveyed more than 2,000 students enrolled at Serbian universities with differing socio-political and economic environments. The researchers found that students who smoked had rates of clinical depression that were twice to three times higher than did their non-smoking peers. Specifically, at the University of Pristina, 14% of smokers suffered from depression as opposed to 4% of their non-smoking peers, and at Belgrade University the numbers were 19% to 11%, respectively.

Further, no matter their economic or socio-political backgrounds, students who smoked also had higher rates of depressive symptoms and lower mental health scores (such as, vitality and social functioning) than did non-smoking students. "Our study adds to the growing body of evidence that smoking and depression are closely linked," shared Levine. "While it may be too early to say that smoking causes depression, tobacco does appear to have an adverse effect on our mental health."

Here in Israel, the timing of the study's publication coincides with a milestone event in the country's war on tobacco. Today, an amendment to Israel's Law on Restriction on Advertising and Marketing of Tobacco and Smoking Products went into effect. It mandates a countrywide ban on store displays of tobacco products, an increase in the size of cigarette box warnings from 30% to 65%, and requires all tobacco and e-cigarette products to be sold in uniform packaging, with no individual logos or company branding.

While these are important steps, in light of the new findings, Levine would like to see policy makers take into account smoking's mental health effects, as well. "I urge universities to advocate for their students' health by creating 'Smoke-Free Campuses' that not only ban smoking on campus but tobacco advertising, too." Combined with policies that prevent, screen and treat mental health problems, including addiction, these steps would go a long way towards combating the harmful effects that smoking has on our physical and mental states.
-end-


The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Related Depression Articles:

Targeting depression: Researchers ID symptom-specific targets for treatment of depression
For the first time, physician-scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have identified two clusters of depressive symptoms that responded to two distinct neuroanatomical treatment targets in patients who underwent transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS) for treatment of depression.
A biological mechanism for depression
Researchers report that in depressed individuals there are increased amounts of an unmodified structural protein, called tubulin, in lipid rafts compared with non-depressed individuals.
Depression in adults who are overweight or obese
In an analysis of primary care records of 519,513 UK adults who were overweight or obese between 2000-2016 and followed up until 2019, the incidence of new cases of depression was 92 per 10,000 people per year.
Why stress doesn't always cause depression
Rats susceptible to anhedonia, a core symptom of depression, possess more serotonin neurons after being exposed to chronic stress, but the effect can be reversed through amygdala activation, according to new research in JNeurosci.
Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression?
New research suggests a person's reliance on his or her smartphone predicts greater loneliness and depressive symptoms, as opposed to the other way around.
Depression breakthrough
Major depressive disorder -- referred to colloquially as the 'black dog' -- has been identified as a genetic cause for 20 distinct diseases, providing vital information to help detect and manage high rates of physical illnesses in people diagnosed with depression.
CPAP provides relief from depression
Researchers have found that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can improve depression symptoms in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
Post-natal depression in dads linked to depression in their teenage daughters
Fathers as well as mothers can experience post-natal depression -- and it is linked to emotional problems for their teenage daughters, new research has found.
Being overweight likely to cause depression, even without health complications
A largescale genomic analysis has found the strongest evidence yet that being overweight causes depression, even in the absence of other health problems.
Don't let depression keep you from exercising
Exercise may be just as crucial to a depression patient's good health as finding an effective antidepressant.
More Depression News and Depression Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Meditations on Loneliness
Original broadcast date: April 24, 2020. We're a social species now living in isolation. But loneliness was a problem well before this era of social distancing. This hour, TED speakers explore how we can live and make peace with loneliness. Guests on the show include author and illustrator Jonny Sun, psychologist Susan Pinker, architect Grace Kim, and writer Suleika Jaouad.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.