Suicide rates higher among smokers, and certain laws can fix that

July 18 16:26 2014

Although the physical effects of smoking have been well known for many years, new research has arisen that suggests smoking causes underlying, negative mental effects as well, including psychiatric disorders and suicide.

According to, research conducted at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that there is a correlation between laws against public smoking and suicide rates throughout the United States. States that adopted more strict public smoking laws saw a drop in suicide rates between 1990 and 2004. States who did not have as strict of policies may have seen their suicide rates raise a much as six percent in that same time frame.

States with higher tax rates also saw suicide rates drop as much as 15 percent, reports Red Orbit Online. Richard Grucza, an associate professor of psychiatry at the university, states that it appeared each dollar increase in cigarette taxes was commonly associated with a 10 percent decrease in suicide risk for each person.

“If you’re not a smoker, or not likely ever to become a smoker, then your suicide risk shouldn’t be influenced by tobacco policies,” he said in a statement. “So the fact that we saw this influence among people who likely were smokers provides additional support for our idea that smoking itself is linked to suicide.”



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Jennifer Pilgrim
Jennifer Pilgrim

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