Cancer, heart disease, asthma – these are just some of the risks from smoking that have become common knowledge and they’re all risks that show smoking can be deadly, but can smoking be a risk factor for suicide too? Various studies have shown a relationship, although still emerging in our understanding, between tobacco use and suicide risk including:

  • People with low nicotine dependence have lower odds of suicidal thoughts and attempts compared to people with high nicotine dependence 1
  • Being a regular smoker is associated with a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and attempts 1,4
  • Being highly nicotine dependent increases the odds of suicidal thoughts and attempts 1, 4

In addition to a higher risk of suicidal thoughts, studies have found some relationship between repeat attempts and smoking, such as:

  • Heavy smokers are significantly more likely to make repeated suicide attempts than non-smokers 4
  • People with previous nicotine dependence who had abstained in the past year are significantly less likely to have made a suicide attempt in the past year compared to those currently dependent on nicotine 2
  • Co-morbid mental disorder and lifetime nicotine dependence are significantly associated with suicide attempts compared to people without either disorder 2
  • $1 increase in tobacco tax was associated with 12.4% reduction in suicide rates among adults 18-65-years old 3

With emerging evidence pointing to a relationship between smoking and suicide risk -let’s start talking about it–we know talking about suicide can help! Below you will find a digest of available resources and information relating to suicide prevention to better help your patients and potentially save a life.

General Resources/ Information

Fact Sheets and Infographics


Research Articles

Additional Resources/Information

This resource digest will continue to be updated as resources are gathered so please keep checking back!

If you have resources/information on this topic that you’d like us to add to this list, please email us at


  1. Tempier, R. & Guerin, E. (2015). Tobacco smoking and suicidal thoughts and attempts: Relationships from a general population survey. Clinical Epidemiology and Global Health, 3(3), 137-143. doi: 10.1016/j.cegh.2014.12.002
  2. Yaworski, D., Robinson, J., Sareen, J., & Bolton, J. M. (2011). The Relation Between Nicotine Dependence in Suicide Attempts in the General Population. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 56(3), 161-170. doi: 10.1177/070674371105600306
  3. Grucza, R. A., Plunk, A. D., Krauss, M. J., Cavazos-Rehg, P. A., Deak, J., Gebhardt, K., Chaloupka, F. J., & Bierut, L. J. (2014). Probing the Smoking-Suicide Association: Do Smoking Policy Interventions Affect Suicide Risk? Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 16(11), 1487-1494. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntu106
  4. Lopez-Castroman, J., Cerrato, L., Beziat, S., Jaussent, I., Guillaume, S., & Courtet, P. (2016). Heavy tobacco dependence in suicide attempters making recurrent and medically serious attempts. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 160, 177-182. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.01.004



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