While cigarette smoking has been associated with a wide variety of health risks including cancer and heart disease, a new study has found that regular cigarette smoking can make smokers paranoid. The new study indicates that regular smokers are an increased risk of developing various phobias and other kinds of chronic fears such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Cigarette smoking can make smokers more fearful since tobacco smoke hinders the brain’s ability to eliminate fear-related memories. This in turn makes smokers susceptible to various types of fears and phobias. The effects can be devastating, especially after an individual has experienced a traumatic event in their lives.
The study provides the example of army personnel, fire fighters and police officers who may be at risk of developing PTSD. And the ones who smoke in the army, which is quite possible since around 33 percent of soldiers smoke, the risks are even higher since tobacco smoke reduces the brain’s ability to eliminate fear related memories. According to lead researcher Dr Jan Haaker from the University Medical Centre in Hamburg, Germany, smokers who are diagnosed with PTSD can benefit significantly if they quit their smoking. In the study, responses from 376 people were recorded, one-fifth of whom were regular smokers. The researchers found that the smokers had an increased response to fear factors.