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A Shocking Link Between E-Cigarettes and Mental Illness

Approximately 30 to 50 percent of current smokers have a mental health condition.

A new study shows that smokers with mental health conditions are twice as likely to have tried e-cigarettes, as compared to smokers without mental issues. The study was conducted by a research team from the University of California, San Diego.

Scientists surveyed 10,041 people. It turns out that 27.8 percent of the current smokers that responded had a mental health condition. However, only 13.4 percent of non-smokers self-reported the same issue. Furthermore 14.3 percent of the former had used e-cigarettes, compared to 6.6 percent of the latter.

The study showed that 60.5 percent of smokers with a mental health condition would try e-cigarettes. In comparison about 45.3 percent of smokers without mental health conditions were interested. The numbers indicate a link between mental health disorders and e-cigarettes.

The survey was based upon a new study of America’s smoking habits. It is published online in the May 13, 2014 edition of Tobacco Control.

Those with a smoking habit today are poorer, have less education, and, as this study shows, have higher rates of mental health conditions.-Sharon CumminsAccording to lead author Sharon Cummins, Ph.D., “The faces of smokers in America in the 1960s were the ‘Mad Men’ in business suits. They were fashionable and had disposable income. Those with a smoking habit today are poorer, have less education, and, as this study shows, have higher rates of mental health conditions.” Dr. Cummins is assistant professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.

It is estimated that approximately 30 to 50 percent of current smokers have a mental health condition.

Are E-Cigarettes Helping or Hurting?

Current smokers are the consumers of most nicotine-delivering technology. It is interesting to note that smokers are more likely to use e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking, whereas nonsmokers are not likely to pick up the habit through e-cigarettes.

Even though most smokers see them as a means of quitting, researchers noted that little is known about the long term effects. “Since the safety of e-cigarettes is still unknown, their use by nonsmokers could put them at risk,” said Cummins.

Weigh In: Will e-cigarette technology make smoking an acceptable social norm yet again, similar to the 1950s and 60s? Leave a comment.

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