4.14 Secondhand smoke and mental health

Last updated: January 2017
Suggested citation: Campbell MA, Ford C, & Winstanley MH. Ch 4. The health effects of secondhand smoke. 4.14 Secondhand smoke and mental health. In Scollo, MM and Winstanley, MH [editors]. Tobacco in Australia: Facts and issues. Melbourne: Cancer Council Victoria; 2017. Available from http://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/chapter-4-secondhand/4-14-secondhand-smoke-and-mental-health

There is emerging evidence that secondhand smoke exposure is associated with depressive symptoms, psychological distress and stress,1-5 including in the postpartum period.6 Two studies have found an association between secondhand smoke exposure in utero and childhood, with psychological distress and depression later in life.7, 8

However, other studies exploring the relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and mental health have not detected a positive relationship.9, 10 Further research in this area is needed.

Recent news and research

For recent news items and research on this topic, click here (Last updated March 2018) 



1. Ye X, Li L, Gao Y, Zhou S, Yang Y, et al. Dose-response relations between second-hand smoke exposure and depressive symptoms among middle-aged women. Psychiatry Research, 2015; 229(1–2):533–8. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26231582

2. Wang R, Zhang P, Lv X, Gao C, Song Y, et al. Association between passive smoking and mental distress in adult never-smokers: A cross-sectional study. BMJ Open, 2016; 6(7):e011671. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27473950

3. Taha F and Goodwin RD. Secondhand smoke exposure across the life course and the risk of adult-onset depression and anxiety disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 2014; 168:367–72. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25103633

4. Kim SJ, Han KT, Lee SY, Chun SY, and Park EC. Is secondhand smoke associated with stress in smokers and non-smokers? BMC Public Health, 2015; 15(1):1249. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26679934

5. Gim W, Yoo JH, Shin JY, and Goo AJ. Relationship between secondhand smoking with depressive symptom and suicidal ideation in Korean non-smoker adults: The Korean National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey 2010-2012. Korean Journal of Family Medicine, 2016; 37(2):97–104. Available from:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27073608

6. Khan S, Arif AA, Laditka JN, and Racine EF. Prenatal exposure to secondhand smoke may increase the risk of postpartum depressive symptoms. Journal of Public Health (Oxf), 2015. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26076701

7. Fergusson D, Woodward L, and Horwood L. Maternal smoking during pregnancy and psychiatric adjustment in late adolescence. Archives of General Psychiatry, 1998; 55(8):721–7. Available from: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/204171

8. Elmasry H, Goodwin RD, Terry MB, and Tehranifar P. Early life exposure to cigarette smoke and depressive symptoms among women in midlife. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 2014; 16(10):1298–306. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24776377

9. Bot M, Vink JM, Willemsen G, Smit JH, Neuteboom J, et al. Exposure to secondhand smoke and depression and anxiety: A report from two studies in the Netherlands. Journal of Psychosomomatic Research, 2013; 75(5):431–6. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24182631

10. Lam E, Kvaavik E, Hamer M, and Batty GD. Association of secondhand smoke exposure with mental health in men and women: Cross-sectional and prospective analyses using the UK health and lifestyle survey. European Psychiatry, 2013; 28:276–81. Available from: http://www.europsy-journal.com/article/S0924-9338(12)00043-0/abstract

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