A new report has revealed that smoking can be a contributing factor towards developing depression and schizophrenia.
The research showed that smoking increases a person’s risk of suffering from depression by anywhere between 54% to 132%, whilst the elevated risk of schizophrenia can be between 53% and 127%.
The study, conducted by academics from the University of Bristol, was presented today to the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ International Congress and concluded that more research is required to determine why smoking is linked to these two conditions, as well as further insight into other mental health issues like bipolar disorder and anxiety.
Professor Marcus Munafo, Professor of Biological Psychology at the University of Bristol, said: “There is no longer any doubt that smoking is bad for mental health and this needs to be a priority in the forthcoming Tobacco Control Plan.
“Those working with people with mental health conditions need to understand and address the vicious cycle of bidirectional effects, whereby having symptoms of mental illness causes individuals to smoke more and to be more likely to become addicted.
“At the same time, smoking also increases the risk of subsequent mental illness and exacerbates mental health symptoms. Lower rates of smoking will improve overall levels of good mental health as well as physical health.”
The Congress was also presented with new data revealing that of England’s six million smokers, an estimated 230,000 are suffering from a severe mental illness and that 1.6 million have dealt with previously or currently experience depression or anxiety.
In conjunction with this new report, national health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and the Royal College of Psychiatrists have launched a new guide on how to address smoking problems and reduce mental health issues.
Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive, ASH, said: “The Khan Review is called ‘Making Smoking Obsolete’ – this cannot be achieved if we ignore the more than a million smokers with mental health conditions. While the NHS has started to roll out support to quit for those with severe mental illness there is little provision for those with common mental health conditions like depression and anxiety – a plan is needed.”
This all comes after Javed Khan’s independent review which outlined a series of recommendations for the upcoming Tobacco Control Plan.
More information about the plans to tackle smoking is available here.