Smoking and Mental Illness: CDC Releases New Study (on what you may already know)

cigI spend the majority of my life in a haze. Literally.

Both my parents were chain smokers. My brother smokes. My sisters smoke. My grandfather smokes. My aunt has emphysema from smoking. I dated men who smoked. Even I am guilty of the occasional drag of nicotine.

Smoking is one of the most common, and easily accessible, form of recreational drug use. Many different cultures across the globe have been partaking in the practice since early 5000 B.C.E.

There is a plentitude of risks from smoking. Cancers such as lung, mouth, pancreas, colon, rectal, stomach and cervix have been attributed to smoking. Chronic illnesses such as stroke, dental and gum diseases, aortic rupture, pneumonia, asthma, lung disease, and reduced fertility have been reported as caused and/or exacerbated by smoking.

And what, exactly, is in a cigarette? The American Lung Association lists the following:

               Acetone – found in nail polish remover

            Acetic Acid –  an ingredient in hair dye

            Ammonia – a common household cleaner

            Arsenic – used in rat poison

            Benzene – found in rubber cement

            Butane – used in lighter fluid

            Cadmium – active component in battery acid

            Carbon Monoxide – released in car exhaust fumes

            Formaldehyde – embalming fluid

            Hexamine – found in barbecue lighter fluid

            Lead – used in batteries

            Napthalene – an ingredient in moth balls

            Methanol – a main component in rocket fuel

            Nicotine – used as insecticide

            Tar – material for paving roads

              Toluene – used to manufacture paint

Smoking is the #1 cause of preventable death in the United States, responsible for over 393,000 deaths a year. So what motivates people to inhale a substance that can shave 10 years off their lives, induce life-threatening and painful illnesses in what is basically a form of slow suicide?CDCsmoking2

Everyone has a vice – a means of escaping daily stress. You may not surprised to hear that the Centers for Disease Control conducted a survey directly correlating mental illness and smoking: “People with mental illness are 70 percent more likely to smoke cigarettes than people without mental illness, two federal health agencies reported Tuesday.1” As a form of self-medication, cigarettes may be harder to kick than alcohol or prescription medications. “Many people with mental illness are at greater risk of dying early from smoking than of dying from their mental health conditions,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control1.



In my opinion, smoking is the least of our worries when it comes to mental illness in our country.

 Do you smoke or know someone who does and is interested in quitting? Help is available. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW, visit, or speak to your health professional today.


1. People With Mental Illness More Likely to Be Smokers, Study Finds

Published: February 5, 2013


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Pictures courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control:

18 thoughts on “Smoking and Mental Illness: CDC Releases New Study (on what you may already know)

  1. Oh yeah, more brainwashing, propaganda and pseudoscience from big brother designed to make all smokers the new evil subclass lol

    People need to really wake up to this programming and brainwashing. Remember our own attny general told us we were BRAINWASHED about smoking and needed to be brain washed about guns.

    And.. before the morality police kick in, no I dont smoke, its not about smoking, its about how the government uses junk science to “nudge” ala Cass Sunstein into a direction they want the sheeple to go.

    • Hi, Penga Penga. Thanks for stopping by and commenting =)

      You bring up good points. I do believe that the government tends to try to sway our thinking in one direction over the other – but with cigarettes raking in such lucrative money via taxes one does have to stop and think if the government would profit from “making all smokers the new evil subclass.” They’d lose millions of dollars a year. And like any government, it all boils down to money, money, money.

      I wouldn’t call this study “junk science” so much as I would say it was a total waste of government funds. It have been very throughly ( and scientifically!) proven since its discovery that nicotine releases endorphins, or “pleasure molecules”, which in turn act on the pleasure center of the brain in much the same way antidepressants, a cheeseburger, watching tv, etc, does. Even just the act of doing something with your hands by holding a cigarette can ease some anxieties by giving the person something to do.

      I don’t think the cigarette smoking – mental illness correlation has to do with making someone look evil. At least mental illness is getting some publicity these days.. and any publicity is good publicity.

  2. Do you know how the centers for disease control pick out what to research? or would you know if they’ve done a study on specifically alzheimers and smokers?

  3. i have 2 say… this is completely on point. i was diagnosed with major depressive disorder after my second child, and i gave up drinking right when i found out i was preggo. after i had my son, i was in such a funk. i went to the doctor that delivered my child and he said i had post-pardum depression. idk why but i started smoking again soon after. it def calmed my nerves altho i know its bad for me and my family. i just dont know what else to do. don’t wanna take pills around my kids, you know?

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