Loneliness has direct link with smoking: study

Loneliness has direct link with smoking: study

A new UK study has found evidence to suggest that there may be a causal link between smoking and feelings of loneliness, and that lonely individuals may be more likely to start smoking and find it more difficult to quit the habit.

Carried out by researchers at the University of Bristol, the new research looked at data gathered from large genetic studies which had investigated loneliness, smoking habits and alcohol use in hundreds of thousands of participants.

Although many studies have shown before that there is an association between smoking and loneliness, it has been hard to investigate whether smoking leads to loneliness, or vice versa. So to determine this, the researchers used a technique called Mendelian randomization, which involves studying genetic variants to see whether certain factors are associated with a higher or lower risk of disease. As it gives more reliable results than using self-reported data, which can be prone to errors, any associations found are more likely to suggest a direct causal relationship.

The findings, published in the journal Addiction, showed that there is evidence to suggest that increased loneliness is linked to an increased chance that someone will start smoking. It was also linked to smoking more cigarettes per day, and a decreased likelihood that a person will successfully quit. There was also some evidence that starting smoking increases loneliness, Yahoo reported.

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