Large nationally representative study links tobacco use and suicidality using data from 325,800 adults who participated in the 2008–2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health
Original investigation

Tobacco Use and 12-Month Suicidality Among Adults in the United States

Beth Han MD, PhD, MPH, Wilson M. Compton MD, MPE, Carlos Blanco MD, PhD

“Emerging evidence indicates that tobacco use is associated with increased risk of suicidality…

…it is critical to understand whether tobacco use questions could simply be useful screeners for further assessment of mental health status and suicidality…

…this is the first study simultaneously assessing the 12-month prevalences of overall suicidality and three distinct categories of suicidality (suicidal ideation, suicide plan, and suicide attempt) among different types of tobacco users…”

…results of this study have several clinical implications. First, it is important for clinicians to query adult patients about their tobacco use status, which may be a simple, nonthreatening, but potentially effective way for timely referring them to effective tobacco cessation programs and for further assessment about their mental health status and suicide risk. Second, in addition to the tobacco use status, clinicians should consider asking their adult patients about their detailed types and frequency of tobacco use. Third, early onset of tobacco use is associated with increased risk of suicidality possibly because of higher levels of psychopathology among early-onset tobacco users. Thus, it may be useful for clinicians to query adult patients about the age of first tobacco use once tobacco use is identified. Also, postponing the age of first tobacco use may help reduce the prevalence of suicidality. Because nicotine dependence is often comorbid with other psychiatric disorders, which are themselves predictors for overall suicidality, suicidal ideation only, and suicide attempt, it is crucial for clinicians to screen for nicotine dependence among cigarette smokers…

Conclusions: Tobacco use is associated with 12-month suicidality among adults. Patients who use tobacco should be assessed further for mental health status and suicide risk.”


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