Smoking and your Brain – Scary FactsKarien Venter
In most cases, people are only concerned with the effect on their lungs when it comes to smoking. However, a number of other organs are also vulnerable, including the brain – as has been indicated by research.
1. It affects your brain’s capacity:
As part of a Scottish Mental Health Survey – which was spread out over half a century – the effects of smoking on one’s memory and cognitave abilities were measured – and it was proven to have a notable impact.
The testing included memory tests, learning, decision making abilities, etc. Even after all the variables like IQ, education, and even occupation were taken into consideration, the effects were still measurable.
2. It causes neurological damage:
Another study by the Indian National Brain Research Centre also indicated that smoking can cause neuro-inflammation – a condition that can cause further complications, including multiple sclerosis. This appears to be caused by Nicotine-derived nitrosamine ketone – or NNK – a chemical commonly found inside tobacco products.
This chemical is carcinogenic after being metabolised, but it also invokes inflammatory reactions in the brain, which can result in substantial neurological damage.
3. It manipulates your mood:
Within 15 seconds of inhaling tobacco smoke, it reaches the brain, where it remains active for up to half an hour. Its interference with the brain’s receptor cells affects the brain chemistry, directly affecting the smoker’s mood. This explains why people who stop smoking show signs of irritability and anxiety, and even mood swings when trying to quit.
4. Smoking has also been linked to blockages of the carotid artery – restricting the flow of blood to the brain cells. This condition – if allowed to worsen – can cause cerebral thrombosis (suffering a stroke). Smoking also causes thickening and clotting of the blood, thereby increasing the risks of both strokes and cardiac problems.
At the end of the day, to stop smoking does not only offer physical benefits, but psychological ones as well. You will no longer be dependent on cigarettes to help you cope with circumstances – which will put you back in control of your own life.