A study examining the association between
smoking and people with schizophrenia found that those with severe
nicotine dependence tended to be prescribed higher doses of
antipsychotic drugs and were more likely to be unemployed.
The research, published in today’s (1 October 2012) British
Journal of Psychiatry, looked at 131 people with a diagnosis
of schizophrenia in Nithsdale, Scotland, to try to assess the
association between nicotine dependence and clinical symptoms.
Seventy of those in the study were smokers, although 21 of the 61
non smokers had smoked in the past.
It found that those with severe nicotine
dependence were likely to score higher on a scale measuring
symptoms and were prescribed higher doses of antipsychotic.
Smoking rates among this group were twice as
high as the general population in that part of Scotland, with the
smokers in the study tending to be young men who were three times
more likely to be unemployed than those in the general
The authors conclude that while their findings
indicate an association between nicotine dependence, clinical
symptoms and social adjustment, causal links cannot be inferred and
further longitudinal studies are needed to explore the
They say: “Nicotine dependence was found to be
associated with symptom severity and outcome in people with
schizophrenia. Although our study does not establish a causal
relationship between these variables, identifying and treating
nicotine dependence may have some value in reducing morbidity and
mortality in schizophrenia.”
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Krishnadas R, Juahar S, Telfer S, Shivashankar S and McCreadie RG. Nicotine dependence and illness severity in schizophrenia. British Journal of Psychiatry, 1 October 2012