Top 5 Mental Health Disorders Linked to Tobacco Use

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in side effects

Dr. Howell

Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor of so many diseases, particularly cancer, heart failure, and diabetes. People who smoked almost all their lives are more likely to die young. There is no wonder to this. Tobacco is a haven of toxic chemicals that pollute not just the environment but the human body as well.

Did you know that smoking is also linked to some of the major mental health disorders? If it can bring damage to the lungs, heart, kidneys, spleen, stomach and many other organs, how much more damage could it bring to the brain? The human brain is a very delicate (in fact, most delicate organ) that a tiny damage could lead to various forms of disability. Until today, the human brain is still a subject of scientific research. There are still many concepts that necessitate understanding. Some of the mental health disorders known today remain to be a mystery. Nonetheless, many studies have been carried out to identify their possible cause and risk factors. And it seems that cigarette smoking still gets a fair share from these.

Below are the top mental health disorders linked to tobacco use:



1.  Psychological distress

People who are continually exposed to secondhand smoke are 62% more likely to suffer from psychological distress than those who are not exposed to it. Meanwhile, the risk is much higher than those who actually smoke.

2.  Major Depression

Studies show that people who smoke are more likely to experience depression. Depression is the most common form of mental health disorder, affecting millions of people around the world. In the study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, it was found that nicotine dependence increases the risk of depression symptoms.

3.  Anxiety Disorder


Many people think that smoking makes them less anxious during stressful situations. This is because nicotine creates a sudden surge in the dopamine levels (feel good chemical of the brain), uplifting one’s mood. However, the effect stays for only several minutes (average is 10). To experience the “good” feeling, smokers light up over and over again.

4.  Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Researchers from the Harvard University found that children exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to develop behavioral problems such as ADHD. Previous studies also claim that women who smoke during pregnancy are at risk of having children with ADHD. These kids are also at risk of poor cognitive function.

5.  Schizophrenia

According to many scientists, smoking should be considered a crucial risk factor of schizophrenia. In a study by the University Hospital of Psychiatry in Switzerland, it was found that cigarette smoking


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