Could Smoking Bans Reduce Suicide Rates?
the MPR take:
Previous research has shown that smokers are at an elevated risk for suicide, but it was believed that this was because people with mental illness are more likely to smoke as well. However, a new study in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research has found that state-level interventions to reduce smoking are associated with a reduction in suicide risk. In the analysis, data on suicide deaths from 1990–2004 were linked with state data on cigarette excise taxes and smoke-free air policies to estimate the association between suicide risk and smoking policy changes. The researchers found that each $1 increase in cigarette taxes was linked to a 10% decrease in suicide risk; states with fewer restrictive smoking policies, in turn, had a 6% increase in suicide rates during this time. The nicotine in cigarettes could be a factor in the link between suicide risk and smoking, the authors suggest.
The nicotine in cigarettes might raise the risk of suicide, researchers reported Wednesday in a finding that defies conventional wisdom. “Our analysis showed that each dollar increase in cigarette taxes was associated with a 10 percent decrease in suicide risk,” said Richard Grucza, associate professor of psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis....
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