Smoking may be worse for us than anyone imagined

Jul 10, 2015 at 11:50 a.m. ET
Image: Seb Oliver/Cultura/Getty Images

We all know smoking is bad for us. This is no surprise. The list of dangers and side effects could fill a whole page. But new research suggests it may be even worse than we thought. Now, there seems to be a link between smoking and psychosis.

The study comes from King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry. They looked at 15,000 tobacco users and 273,000 non users and their relative rates of psychosis (ie. delusions, paranoia and voices in people's heads) and found that cigarette smoking appears to increase risk. Holy smokes.

"While it's always hard to determine the direction of causality, our findings indicate that smoking should be taken seriously as a possible risk factor for developing psychosis," James MacCabe, a psychosis expert who co-led the research said.

Terrifying.

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Look, people. I know it's hard to quit smoking. I haven't had a cigarette in 20 years and I still can't pass by a group of people smoking without wanting to bum a butt. But let's be realistic. It is killing us. It might be making us crazy to boot. It's time to stop.

There are countless ways to stop smoking. Hypnosis. Gradual weaning. Cold turkey. Support groups. Online support. It's not easy to break an addiction, but the research proves time and again exactly how dangerous it is. And that's not even to mention the dangers of second hand smoke and all it can do to the people we love.

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Given how prolific tobacco usage used to be and how the laws have changed regarding smoking (do you remember leaving a bar reeking of butts even if you didn't smoke?) it's a wonder anyone still lights up. But they do. Before you take that drag, think of your health. Think of your future. Think of your brain. And reconsider.

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