Can Smoking Make you Stupid?Karien Venter
While the physical health effects of smoking cigarettes are well documented, new research has proven a connection between nicotine consumption and brain power – especially when it comes to long term smokers…
At one stage it was believed that smoking makes you sharper, improving short term recall. In retrospect, however, it becomes apparent that smoking only improves mental performance for people who smoke anyway…
As such, it once again points to the addictive qualities of nicotine, which requires administration before the person in question is able to perform optimally.
In short, if you are a smoker, and you smoke right before a test, you will do better – but not better than if you did not smoke at all…
Studies comparing the academic performance of non-smokers to that of light smokers, and that of light smokers to those of heavy smokers, have consistently shown that the less you smoke, the better your brain performs.
So yes – it does seem that smoking has a negative impact on your mental or intellectual capacity.
Additionally, the studies included the comparison of psycho-motor speed, or your body’s “motor control” (control over movements), especially in older people. While smokers were generally slower than non-smokers, it is interesting to note that ex-smokers also performed well – meaning that you can actually improve your motor control by quitting, even at an advanced age.
This is partly attributed to the fact that smoking causes conditions that limit the flow of blood (and thus oxygen) to the brain.
Not to mention of course all the other weird toxins that build up in your body (and your brain) over time.
Once you quit smoking, your mind is likely to revolt against the absence of nicotine which it craves to perform optimally – but it is only temporary. Once past the cravings stage, your mind will clear up, and work better than while you started smoking.