Nav: Home

Incidence of psychiatric disorders has increased in a shrinking population of smokers

January 26, 2016

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and New York State Psychiatric Institute have found that while cigarette smoking rates have declined among younger people in the United States, those who do smoke are more likely to have a psychiatric or substance use disorder compared with those who began smoking in earlier decades.

The findings were published today in Molecular Psychiatry.

The study revealed that as overall rates of smoking decreased, beginning in the 1960s, the proportion of smokers who are nicotine-dependent increased. The study also found that the likelihood of having a substance use disorder increased among all smokers with each decade, regardless of their dependence on nicotine. Nicotine-dependent smokers who began lighting up in the 1980s were also more likely than older smokers to have a psychiatric condition such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, or antisocial personality disorder.

"Our study confirms that recent smokers, though a relatively smaller group than those who started smoking decades ago, are more vulnerable to psychiatric and substance use disorders," said lead author Ardesheer Talati, PhD, assistant professor of clinical neurobiology (in Psychiatry) at CUMC and NYSPI and a co-author of the study. "These findings suggest that today's adolescent and young adult smokers may benefit from mental health screening so that any related psychiatric or substance use problems can be identified and addressed early."

Smoking rates steadily increased during the first half of the 20th century. Beginning in the 1960s, growing recognition of the health risks associated with smoking led to a gradual decline in smoking rates, from nearly half of the US population in the 1950s to fewer than 20 percent today.

Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) speculated that as smoking became increasingly stigmatized, the relative few who began smoking in later decades may be more susceptible to psychiatric and substance use disorders.

"The association between smoking and psychiatric and substance use problems has been well documented," says Deborah Hasin, PhD, professor of epidemiology (in Psychiatry) at CUMC, director of the Substance Abuse Research Group at NYSPI, and a co-author of the study. "The current question is whether people who began smoking when it was less socially acceptable to do so were also somehow more likely to have mental health and substance use problems."

The researchers investigated this hypothesis among 25,000 people who participated in the National Epidemiological Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), a large epidemiological survey funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The participants were divided into five birth groups: those who were born in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s.

"These findings also have implications for ongoing nationwide efforts to support smoking cessation efforts," notes Katherine Keyes, PhD, assistant professor of Epidemiology at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health, and a co-author. "Given that mental health problems are also predictive of unsuccessful efforts to reduce or quit smoking, these findings suggest that cessation efforts that treat both withdrawal from nicotine and underlying mental health conditions are increasingly crucial."

The authors noted that additional studies are needed to determine if there is a causal relationship between biological or genetic factors and mental health or substance use problems in smokers.
-end-
The article is titled, "Changing relationships between smoking and psychiatric comorbidity across 20th century birth cohorts: Clinical and Research Implications." Katherine M. Keyes, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at CUMC, was a lead investigator of the study and a co-author of the paper.

The investigators are supported by grants from the NIDA (K01DA029598),the NIAAA (K01AA021511, K05AA014223), and Young Investigator NARSAD grants from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.

The authors report no financial or other conflicts of interest.

Columbia University Medical Center

Related Smoking Articles:

Telomere length unaffected by smoking
A new study has surprised the medical world, finding that smoking does not shorten the length of telomeres -- a marker at the end of our chromosomes that is widely accepted as an indicator of aging.
Want to quit smoking? Partner up
Kicking the habit works best in pairs. That's the main message of a study presented today at EuroPrevent 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
Smoking and mortality in Asia
In this analysis of data from 20 studies conducted in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and India with more than 1 million participants, deaths associated with smoking continued to increase among men in Asia grouped by the years in which they were born.
Predictors of successfully quitting smoking among smokers registered at the quit smoking clinic at a public hospital in northeastern Malaysia
In the current issue of Family Medicine and Community Health, Nur Izzati Mohammad et al. consider how cigarette smoking is one of the risk factors leading to noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory system diseases and cancer.
Restaurant and bar smoking bans do reduce smoking, especially among the highly educated
Smoking risk drops significantly in college graduates when they live near areas that have completely banned smoking in bars and restaurants, according to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
More Smoking News and Smoking Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...