Smoking and Intellectual Health

November 14, 2017

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Tobacco and Intellectual Health
Photo Courtesy: Quit Smoking Movement

Find Out How Smoking Can Affect Your Academic Performance

Even if a child or teenager knows not to smoke, there is a more likely chance they will smoke the more they see cigarettes around them. It was proven that adolescents with high exposure to smoking in movies, made them three times more likely to start smoking themselves. It is also proven that intelligent people are more likely to smoke. While there is no clear answer as to why these two things happen, there is evidence that smoking will affect your brain health, as much as repeatedly seeing something will make you more likely to do it.

It is well known to researchers that cigarette smoking can lead to attention and memory deficits in adults. However, a study done by UCLA looked at the effects of cigarette smoking on adolescent smokers (ages 15-21) and how nicotine could potentially affect the development of their prefrontal cortex. The major finding was that, as the prefrontal cortex is developing during the teen years, smoking can influence the trajectory of brain development, affecting the function of the prefrontal cortex. In accordance, if the prefrontal cortex is negatively affected in this way, a teenager may be more likely to start, and continue to smoke throughout their lifetime.

If a teenager begins to smoke, and their prefrontal cortex is affected, they have the following consequences:

  • Difficulty coordinating and adjusting complex behavior
  • Difficulty managing impulse control and emotional reactions
  • Difficulty expressing personality
  • Attention deficits
  • Difficulty managing complex planning
  • Difficulty prioritizing

It is not well understood why people start smoking but there are correlations as to who is more likely to start and when. The most susceptible group of people are adolescents, and they are the most at risk to have their intellectual health affected. Know the risks and avoid smoking! 

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