The personality changes seemingly caused by smoking are actually caused by culture or other environmental factors. Even health problems can’t simply be blamed on smoking.
“A curious detail in the findings is that, unlike the US samples, differences in personality change were not found among smokers in Japan compared with non-smokers. The researchers said this result may be an extension of what has become known as the “Japanese smoking paradox” – the fact that even though smoking rates are higher in Japan than the US, rates of lung cancer and mortality risk are lower.”
There is increasing recognition that while our personality traits are stable enough to shape our lives profoundly, they are also partly malleable, so that our choices and experiences can feedback and influence the kind of people we become. A new study in the Journal of Research in Personality shines a light on a highly consequential behaviour that captures this dynamic – smoking cigarettes.
The results add “… to existing knowledge on the implications of smoking by showing that this behaviour is also likely to alter individuals’ characteristic ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving over time,” the researchers said.
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