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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Do Smoking Policy Interventions Affect Suicide Risk?

By Richard A. Grucza, Andrew D. Plunk and others
Nicotine Tob Res (2014)
doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntu106
First published online: July 16, 2014

Introduction: 

Smokers exhibit elevated risk for suicide, but it is unknown whether smoking interventions reduce suicide risk. We examined whether state-level policy interventions—increases in cigarette excise taxes and strengthening of smoke-free air laws—corresponded to reduction in suicide risk during the 1990s and early 2000s. We also examined whether the magnitude of such reductions correlated with individuals’ predicted probability of smoking, as would be expected if the associations stemmed from changes in smoking behavior.

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Results: 

Cigarette excise taxes, smoke-free air policies, and an index combining the two policies all exhibited protective associations with suicide. The associations were strongest in segments of the population where predicted smoking prevalence was the highest and weaker in segments of the population where predicted smoking prevalence was the lowest, suggesting that the protective associations were related to changes in smoking behavior.

The entire article is here, behind a paywall.

Editor's note: While it is unclear if smoking itself leads to suicidal behavior (doubtful) or makes existing mental impairments worse (either through sustained use or trying to quit), clinicians need to know that this could be an important part of evaluating suicide potential.

Here is an article of nicotine and mental illness.
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