Smokers and consequently their second hand smoke may be doing even more harm to others that we had earlier thought. Not only is second hand smoke bad for physical health, researchers have found that passive smoking is bad for mental health also.
An earlier study had demonstrated that as many as 60% of non smokers had been exposed to second hand smoke and displayed evidence of passive smoking.
In this study more than 8000 smoking and non smoking adults were studied who had no history of any psychological problems.
Their saliva was tested for cotinine, which is formed by the breaking down of nicotine in the body and is evidence of earlier exposure to cigarette smoke.
The researchers found that the more a person was exposed to second hand smoke, the more likely they were to suffer from some sort of psychological distress.
While smokers were 3.7 times more likely to be hospitalized for a mental illness, the passive smokers, were 2.8 times more likely to be admitted to psychiatric hospitals. This data showed that passive smoking considerably increases a person’s risk of developing mental illnesses.
Studies have also shown that tobacco can depress a person’s mood and that smoking and depression are linked.