Secondhand smoke greatly increases the risk of mental illness

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In the United States, nearly 60% of non-smokers have biological evidence of second-hand exposure; this is an indication of a serious public health issue. According to Mark Hamer, PhD, of University College London, and colleagues, “Even a low level of risk may have a major public health impact;” a major Scottish study, published in the June 7th issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, is now furthering the evidence supporting this position. According to the findings, high exposure levels to second-hand smoke, as measure by salivary levels of the nicotine breakdown product cotinine, were associated with a 49% higher risk of psychological distress compared to non-smokers with no trace of cotinine. Furthermore, future risk of hospitalization related to psychiatric treatment was nearly threefold for nonsmokers with high exposure levels to secondhand smoke (a salivary cotinine level of greater than 0.70 µg/L and less than 15.00 µg/L). Click here to read an article from the NewYork Times that discusses this study more.

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