Smoke and Psychology: Second Hand Smoke Impedes Mental Health

A new study confirms that exposure to second hand cigarette smoke increases likeliness of future mental illness and psychological distress in otherwise healthy adults. The findings connecting passive smoking to mental health risks were published in the Archives of General Psychiatry and expand our collective understanding of not only the physical, but also the psychological affects of smoking. Adults with high exposure to second hand smoke were shown to have a 50% higher chance of psychological distress than those who were not exposed. Numerous existing studies have documented increased psychological distress for smokers themselves, but the AGP study shows that second hand smoke can also impact brain chemistry and psychological well-being.

© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

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  • henry R.

    henry R.

    June 10th, 2010 at 7:59 AM

    Whoa!Yes,we knew about the physical harms of second-hand smoke but to know that it can also lead to psychological concerns is alarming to say the least.We need tougher regulations against smoking!

  • RM


    June 10th, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    Okay,so we’ve always known second-hand smoke is injurious to a person’s physical health.And now we get to read and hear that it is also detrimental to a person’s mental health.So what is the government actually doing about this?Just counting money that it gets from tobacco companies in the form of taxes?!

  • Dorothy


    June 10th, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    But will info like this do anything to change the monds or the behaviors of smokers? No. It has to directly impact their lives in a negative way, maybe with health problems or problems for family members before it typically has an impact.

    I was just at the funeral for a friend who died young from lung cancer, probably caused by smoking, and every family member of hers there were still puffing away outside. How dumb.

  • Jemma Rowans

    Jemma Rowans

    June 11th, 2010 at 1:14 AM

    Smoking is like an infectious disease…it has its own whirlpool and can consume even people around the actual smoker!I just hate smokers!

  • emily


    June 11th, 2010 at 5:04 AM

    smoking kills…and in more ways than one!

  • Ryanne


    June 12th, 2010 at 6:34 AM

    While smoking is stupid and for the life of me I can’t figure out what makes someone take up this habit or at least continue with it since we all know how bad it is for us. But to put the lives of others at risk simply to fulfill our own need for nicotine? That’s just wrong.

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