Cigarette smoking may not only be harmful to the lungs but also lead to poor mental health, according to a study.
The researchers from Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel surveyed more than 2,000 students enrolled at Serbian universities with differing socio-political and economic environments.
The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that students who smoked had rates of clinical depression that were twice to three times higher than did their non-smoking peers.
At the University of Pristina, 14 per cent of smokers suffered from depression as opposed to four per cent of their non-smoking peers, the researchers said.
At Belgrade University the numbers were 19 per cent to 11 per cent, respectively, they said.
Students who smoked also had higher rates of depressive symptoms, and lower mental health scores such as vitality and social functioning than did non-smoking students, according to the researchers.
“Our study adds to the growing body of evidence that smoking and depression are closely linked,” said Professor Hagai Levine from Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
“While it may be too early to say that smoking causes depression, tobacco does appear to have an adverse effect on our mental health,” Levine said in a statement.