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Research Looks Into Mental Illness, Smoking, Distracted Driving

9:49 AM, Jan 2, 2014   |    comments
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UNDATED -- The link between mental illness and drug use, smoking deaths and distracted driving are all topics of Thursday's top health stories. 

People with severe psychiatric disorders are likely to smoke, drink and use drugs, according to a study in JAMA Psychiatry. 

Researchers put together the largest assessment of substance abuse among patients with schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder and other severe illnesses. The results show more than 75 percent of the patients tested were regular smokers, 30 percent were binge drinkers and 50 percent were regular marijuana users. 

READ MORE | JAMA Psychiatry Mental Illness And Drug Use Study

A new smoking study looks at ways to reduce the number of smoking deaths; researchers say raising taxes could do the trick. A review from the New England Journal of Medicine shows tripling tobacco taxes would prevent about 200 million smoking deaths around the world this century.  

Researchers say the tax hike would double the price of cigarettes in some countries, which could reduce the number of smokers by a third. 

READ MORE | New England Journal of Medicine Smoking Study

And, a new study looks into the dangers of distracting driving. The research, in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows drivers are spending about 10 percent of their time on the road multi-tasking. That includes everything from eating, using cell phones or texting. 

The research also finds that newly licensed teenaged drivers do it the most. And, that they're much more likely to be involved in a crash while texting or reaching for a phone. 

The results also show cell phone use increases the risk of crashes or near-crashes among new and experienced drivers more than any other factor. 

READ MORE | New England Journal of Medicine Distracted Driving Study

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