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The Effect of Smoking on Mental Health

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Objectives: The disproportionately high smoking prevalence among persons with mental health problems has raised a concern that this population is at increased risk for smoking-related illness. We investigated the effect of smoking on mental health among US adults aged 18 and older using the 2000-2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Methods: Whereas previous literature has reported a significant association between smoking and mental health, identifying the causal pathway is difficult. To address the plausible reverse causality from mental health to smoking and omitted unobserved factors, we employ the method of instrumental variables (IV) by using state cigarette excise tax as an instrument for smoking. Results: Our findings show that smoking increases the number of days with poor mental health especially among individuals with more severe illness (more than 14 days in the past month). Conclusions: Our estimates suggest that smoking causes poor mental health and its effects are concentrated for measures that indicate more severe problems. Public health policies that aim to reduce smoking also may reduce poor mental health.
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Keywords: CIGARETTE EXCISE TAX; MENTAL HEALTH; SMOKING

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA., Email: [email protected] 2: Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA 3: Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA

Publication date: 2017-07-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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