Young person with bipolar disorder blowing smoke.
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People with a mental illness are more likely to have nicotine dependency and other substance use disorders.

Smoking has been linked to more frequent manic episodes and a worsening of the symptoms of the manic depression. Smoking is one of the health risks of the other things.

Avoiding or ceasing smoking may help people with bipolar disorder manage their symptoms and it will benefit their overall well-being.

We will discuss the link between nicotine use and mental health issues, as well as tips for quitting smoking.

Data shows that people with bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions are more likely to be smokers than people without them.

In 2016 research on the link between smoking and bipolar disorder, it was found that smoking is associated with worsening of the disorder’s hallmark symptoms, referring to depression, mania, and its milder form, hypomania.

A study from 2015 identified people with bipolar disorder as being two to three times more likely to smoke than the general population.

People with manic episodes were more likely to be dependent on tobacco than people with other mental illnesses.

People with a mental illness who smoke may have a harder time managing their moods, which can result in longer stays in mental health facilities.

Additionally, smoking can have adverse interactions with certain bipolar medications. Earlier 2012 research found that some mood stabilizing drugs (such as topiramate) may increase nicotine metabolism.

People with a disorder like bipolar may have a tendency to smoke and have difficulty stopping.

Finding the link between nicotine and bipolar disorder

There is research suggesting a complicated relationship between smoking and a disorder.

Some researchers speculate that age plays a role. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most smokers have their first cigarette by age 18, but bipolar disorder generally first develops when people are in their early 20s.

However, other research has found there might be a direct link between smoking and developing bipolar disorder. More research is still needed.

It is difficult to determine what effect smoking might have on the risk of developing a mental illness.

Smoking is most commonly thought of as linked to lung health and other respiratory health concerns. This link is supported by research, but it’s not the only way smoking can harm your health. There are a wide range of health risks associated with smoking.

Cancer risks

Lung cancer is the most common cancer associated with smoking. Smoking is a contributing factor in 80% to 90% of lung cancer deaths in the United States.

Smoking is a risk factor for many cancer types, including Pancreatic, gastrointestinal, and kidney cancer.

Chronic conditions

The use of nicotine has documented effects on the immune system. This impacts both acute and chronic illnesses. Smokers are at a higher risk of infections (including lung infections) than nonsmokers and may experience slower recovery and healing.

Nicotine use can cause chronic conditions.

Other health effects

Smoking can have a noticeable effect on the body.

These may look similar.

Nicotine use can also impact sexual and reproductive health. This includes risks of reduced fertility, pregnancy complications, and erectile dysfunction in some people.

For many people who smoke, quitting smoking is a challenge that takes preparation, commitment, and social support. Nicotine is a substance that causes dependency (often called an addictive substance), meaning it actually changes chemical pathways in your brain.

Nicotine use has many health benefits, so it is worth the challenge.

Your body will heal even after a few days without smoking. You can reduce your risk of serious health conditions after years of being smoke free.

There are health benefits to quitting smoking.

These tips can help you stop smoking.

  • Make a plan: A quitting plan is a tool you can use to set goals, track your progress, monitor your health, and more. You can create a plan for free at
  • Make a list: Writing out a list of reasons you want to quit smoking can be very motivating. It can help you stay focused and remind you why you made this commitment.
  • Tell your friends and family: Telling the people around you that you plan to quit can encourage you to stick with it. Plus, you’ll have support along the way.
  • Pick a start date: It’s a good idea to give yourself a few days to prepare to quit smoking. Picking a quit date can give you time and can help you set your first goal.
  • Keep track of your triggers: Smoking triggers are the things and situations that make you crave a cigarette. For example, being around certain people, exposed to certain situations, or in certain locations can all trigger cravings. Knowing your triggers can help you avoid, prepare for, and manage cravings.
  • Throw out any remaining cigarettes: Keeping cigarettes around can make the temptation to smoke again stronger. Removing temptations from your home can help you stick with your plan.
  • Be prepared for withdrawal symptoms: Quitting has a wide range of health benefits, but withdrawal symptoms can be difficult to handle. You might experience depression, anxiety, or irritability or have trouble sleeping and focusing. Nicotine replacement therapy, such as gums, inhalers, and patches, can help minimize symptoms.
  • Find support: In addition to friends and family, you can turn to specialized support resources for smokers. These resources are designed to help you quit. You can find apps, websites, online chats, and more by checking out the resources page on
  • Take it one day at a time: Every day you don’t have a cigarette is a victory. Focusing on making it through each day can help make quitting feel manageable.
  • Stay active: It’s always a good idea to exercise and stay active. When you’re trying to quit smoking, it can help more than ever. Not only can it help improve your health, but it can also keep your mind off smoking.
  • Stock up on gum and candies: Having gum, candy, or another substitute can help you resist cravings.
  • Switch out coffee for water: Caffeine can make cravings worse. Plus, it’s important to stay hydrated while you’re in withdrawal.
  • Get plenty of rest: Being tired can trigger cigarette cravings. Getting plenty of rest and practicing self-care as you quit can be a big help.

You can do this!

Many smokers attempt to quit several times before they succeed. Smoking cessation is possible with the right planning and support, and you are not alone.

It needs to be managed throughout your life because of the chronic condition of bi-polar. It is possible to treat the disorder. Smoking cessation treatment is a part of your treatment plan.

Treatments to manage the disorder.

  • Medication: There are several different classes of medication available for bipolar disorder. You might need to try several before you find one that best manages your symptoms. Options include mood stabilizers, antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medication, and combinations of these.
  • Therapy: Therapy is considered a gold standard component of any bipolar disorder treatment plan. There are multiple types of therapy that can help with bipolar disorder. These include talk therapy, family counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, and group therapy.
  • Medication with therapy: For many people, a combination of therapy types in addition to medication is the most effective approach to managing bipolar disorder.
  • Lifestyle changes: Steps such as eating a balanced diet, sticking to a routine, and keeping a journal or mood chart can help you manage your symptoms. Getting regular physical activity is also important. It’s also a good idea to surround yourself with supportive people and positive relationships.
  • Quitting substances: If you smoke, drink alcohol, or use other substances, a doctor might advise you to cease. You might be referred to a SUD treatment program to guide and support you in this process.
  • Day treatment programs: If you need more help and support managing your symptoms, a doctor might suggest that you attend a day program. Day programs can give you a safe and supportive place to go as you manage your symptoms.
  • Inpatient treatment programs: For more intensive treatment, a doctor may suggest an inpatient stay. Inpatient hospital stays can help stabilize your mood if you’re having challenging symptoms such as feeling suicidal or experiencing aggressive urges, very risky and impulsive behaviors, or psychosis.
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): This treatment sends electric currents through your brain and has been shown to help lessen mood episodes, but it’s not considered a first-line treatment for bipolar disorder. ECT is usually only recommended if other approaches haven’t worked, if you can’t take medications due to pregnancy or health conditions, or if your symptoms are very severe.

Help is out there

If you or someone you know is in a crisis, please seek help.

Stay with them until help arrives. If you can do it safely, you can remove weapons that can cause harm.

Stay on the phone with them until help arrives, if you are not in the same household.

People with mental health conditions are more likely to smoke than the general population.

Smoking is linked to more intense mood episodes, but it is not known if this is related to the relationship between smoking and bipolar disorder.

Smoking can help you manage your disorder. Smoking cessation and the use of other substances are often a core part of a treatment plan for bipolar disorder.

Setting goals, building social support, nicotine replacement therapies, and entering programs for smoking cessation are some of the things that may be included in this part of your treatment.