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The Link Between Smoking and Mental Health

The Link Between Smoking and Mental Health


The Link Between Smoking and Mental Health

The detrimental effect of smoking is wide ranging, and it negatively affects both your body and mind. While most of the attention has been focused on the physical effects that heavy smoking has on your body, in the last few years a concerted effort has been made by psychologists to study the effects on a person’s mind.

It was concluded by these studies that smoking was equally detrimental to the mind as it was on the body. Additionally, psychologists warned that adults afflicted with mental illness were more likely to be smokers and would be much better off if they quit smoking. Here at Breazy, we promote and support cessation and healthier alternatives to smoking.


In 2016, The American Psychiatric Association published a report that argued psychiatrists should suggest that their patients quit their smoking habit and that quitting would “significantly improve the quality of life.” They also posited that “people with mental illness are much more likely to smoke than people without mental illness and the consequences of smoking take a tremendous toll on these individuals.”

The APA’s report drew from previous reports made by the Center for Disease Control. In 2013, the CDC estimated that 31 percent of people with mental illnesses were also smokers - that's almost double the average of the general population.

Another report from the CDC back in 2008 suggested that people with mental illness or a substance use disorder account for 25 percent of the adult population, but they consumed 40 percent of the cigarettes sold in the United States at that time.

The disproportionately high rates of smoking among this population are likely due to a combination of biological, psychological and social factors that work together to create a unique vulnerability for tobacco dependence, according to the APA. They suggest that psychiatrists working with the mentally ill should suggest cessation of cigarettes as part of any treatment course.

Benefits of Quitting

One other revelation was that quitting smoking would not interfere with mental health recovery, and may even provide “mental health benefits,” meaning that it's a common misconception that smoking helps with coping. Instead of being beneficial, smoking leads to an increase in depression and “greater likelihood of psychiatric hospitalization and increased suicidal behavior.”

Vaping is one of the most effective, proven tactics in helping smokers quit smoking tobacco. Studies claim that the sensation of the vapor being inhaled and exhaled out of the lungs is why most smokers are able to stick with the switch. It also improves ex-smokers lung health and capacity, their heart health, and eliminates the countless other ailments associated with tobacco cigarettes. Research conducted in the U.K. claims that smokers are 60% more likely to quit tobacco by vaping compared to traditional methods like patches or nicotine gum.