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Health Watch: January 2nd

A look at the stories affecting your health.
People with severe psychiatric disorders are far more likely to smoke, drink and use drugs. A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry is the largest assessment ever of substance abuse among patients with severe illnesses, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. More than 75 percent of those patients were regular smokers, 30 percent were binge drinkers and 50 percent were regular marijuana users.

A new study examining the dangers of distracted driving finds drivers are multi-tasking about 10 percent of the time. That includes eating, using cell phones or texting. Research in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that the risk is greatest for newly-licensed teen drivers. 

Researchers looking for ways to reduce smoking deaths say raising taxes could go a long way. A review in the New England Journal of Medicine finds tripling taxes would prevent 20 million deaths worldwide during this century. The tax hike would double the price of cigarettes in some countries, which could reduce the number of smokers by a third. 
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