Smoking Linked to Suicidal Thoughts

Do troubled people smoke, or does it work in reverse?
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2008 9:56 PM CST
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(Newser) – Young smokers think about suicide at higher rates than non-smokers, researchers have discovered. Nearly 15% of non-smokers reported suicidal thoughts, compared with 20% of casual smokers and 30% of addicted smokers, according to the study in the Journal of Affective Disorders. Researchers could not determine whether smoking was a cause or effect of suicidal thoughts. Nobody committed suicide during the four-year study.

Some studies have pointed to personality traits like impulsiveness and aggression that may make people likelier to smoke—and attempt suicide. Others have suggested that tobacco may have antidepressant properties that attract depressed people to smoking. Research also suggests that nicotine may rob the body of the pleasure-giving brain chemical serotonin.