Secondhand smoke and mental illness

There's no secret secondhand smoke can cause long-term damage. But did you know it can also have harmful effects on your brain? 

This 2010 study connects secondhand smoke exposure and possible links to schizophrenia, depression, delirium and other psychological conditions. It turns out that tobacco also brings on negative moods in animals, and other studies on humans seem to show a correlation between depression and smoking. 

(According to, while about 1 in 3 Americans smoke, the percentage among schizophrenics is much higher--nearly 90 percent. I find this so fascinating.) 

In the study--only the seond of its kind--researchers connected secondhand smoke and signs of psychological distress, including depressive symptoms and even higher risk of suicide.

In a small group of teens, smoking was associated with a higher risk of depressive episodes over 5 years of follow-up, evidence that smoking weakened teen's brains during crucial formitive periods.

If you're looking to stop smoking, here are a list of free smoking cessation programs in the Boise area. Your brain will thank you!


Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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