Smoking in schizophrenia -- all is not biological

Schizophr Res. 2002 Jul 1;56(1-2):67-74. doi: 10.1016/s0920-9964(01)00187-6.


High rate of tobacco smoking reported in schizophrenia has been related to the effect of nicotine on the neurobiology of schizophrenia. Nicotine is said to alleviate psychotic symptoms in some patients. The relationship between smoking and psychiatric status may not be simply a biological one as several sociocultural and economic factors could influence smoking behaviour. In this study in India on 286 urban male outpatients with schizophrenia, only 38% were found to be current smokers. This was significantly more than in other psychiatric patients studied (major affective disorders and non-psychotic disorders) but not medically ill controls and not higher than the rates for the general male population in India. Smokeless use of tobacco was infrequent in the study population. More than half of the patients did not experience any positive effects due to smoking. Lack of economic independence and restrictions imposed by the family appeared to be crucial factors that controlled the prevalence of smoking among schizophrenia patients. As smoking is a leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality, there is a serious need to review the neurobiological issue of smoking in schizophrenia considering the influence culture and social practices could have upon the behaviour.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bipolar Disorder / epidemiology
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Developing Countries*
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / physiopathology
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data