The Impact of Tobacco Use on the Symptoms of Schizophrenia
In individuals with schizophrenia, there are often high rates of use of tobacco products. In a world wide meta analysis, 67% of the adults with schizophrenia smoke cigarettes (Xu et al., 2014), whereas only 13.7% of the US population smokes (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018). Schizophrenia is defined as “ a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally” characterized by “hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking and behavior that impairs daily functioning, and can be disabling” (Mayo Clinic, 2020). It is believed by many adults with schizophrenia that smoking reduces schizophrenia symptoms. However, this “self-medication hypothesis” is being questioned due to smoking risks versus symptom improvement. There is significant evidence linking smoking tobacco to negative health outcomes such as: “cancer (lung, throat, head and neck, colorectal), heart disease, stroke, asthma, diabetes, COPD, HIV, vision loss and blindness, and mental health conditions (depression and anxiety)” (CDC, 2019). Therefore, the purpose of this Evidence Based Practice Brief is to explore the link between symptoms of schizophrenia and smoking.