August 12, 2010

Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke Linked to Mental Disorders

Smoking has been linked to depression and other mental health conditions, but recently it was found that not only smokers are prone to this, but also those exposed to second hand smoke are also at an increased risk.

The study looked at over 5,600 people who do not smoke, and about 2,600 who do smoke. Using a questionnaire the researchers found out that people who do not smoke, but are exposed to second-hand smoke were 1.5 times as likely to suffer from psychological symptoms as non-smokers who were not exposed to second hand smoke. Although people who actually smoke are 4 times more likely to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital than those who have not smoked or been exposed to second hand smoke, it is astonishing to find that those exposed people are also 3 times as likely to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital. It is still unknown whether those who establish mental health problems are more likely to start smoking or if smoking helps cause the mental health problems.

So far it is only known that mental health and smoking are connected, but further research is needed to develop these ideas. Now that these risks have been increased, smoking warnings are becoming increasingly serious. Smoking has been linked to heart disease, lung cancer, cancer of the larynx, cancer of the oral cavity or esophagus, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and most recently, mental conditions. Exposure to second-hand smoke has been linked to causing sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, ear problems, severe asthma, slowing lung growth in children, and mental diseases.