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May 2024
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Smarts and Smoking

Researchers Measure the Intelligence Level of Smokers and Non-Smokers

IQ scores of cigarette smokers tend to be lower than non-smokers'.

With all that we now know about the negative health effects of smoking (e.g., compared with non-smokers, smokers are four more times more likely to suffer a stroke, four times more likely to have heart disease, 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer, 13 times more likely to die from lung disease, etc.), you really have to question the intelligence of people who start smoking.

Well, we now have a study that may answer that question.

According to a new study published in the journal Addiction, smokers tend to have lower IQs than non-smokers.

Researchers discovered this through a study that tested the intelligence level of 20,000 Israeli soldiers and recruits.  The overwhelming majority of the 18-year-olds had never smoked in their lives (68 percent), but more than a quarter of them were regular smokers (about 28 percent).  Three percent of them were classified as “ex-smokers.”

After controlling for contributing factors that no doubt influenced the soldiers’ IQ scores (e.g. years of schooling they’d completed, how many years of school their parent had completed), they found that smokers had lower scores than non-smokers (smokers average IQ score=94; non-smokers average IQ score=101).  What’s more, there was an inverse relationship between cigarettes smoked and their IQ scores.  In other words, the more cigarettes smoked per day, the lower their score were.

Now, again, there are a lot of contributing factors to consider in assessing someone’s intelligence.  Further, an IQ test is not exactly a foolproof (pardon the pun) way of measuring someone’s intelligence.  That being said, it’s the best thing we have that gives a snap shot assessment of someone’s mental acuity.

A question that remains unanswered, however, is whether smoking leads to lower IQ scores, or if less intelligent people are just more likely to smoke.  Despite the inverse relationship between IQ and cigarettes smoked per day, the researchers think it’s the latter.

Be that as it may, if you do smoke, the smartest thing you can do is to quit…and quit now.  The withdrawal symptoms you’ll no doubt experience will probably make this process the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives.  You’ll notice an improvement in your breathing within a week.  Within 24 hours, your blood pressure rate will normalize.  And in a matter of days, smells and flavors will become more distinct.

As you work on quitting—and there are LOADS of smoking cessation programs to choose from—you’ll want to supply your body with key nutrients that you’re likely deficient in.  For that and more, check out this.


Related Posts

  1. Smoking Cessation: How Best to ‘Pack’ It In
  2. Smoking on the Outs with Oats
  3. Harmful Drug used to Stop Smoking
  4. Why It’s Never Too Late to Quit
  5. Beta-Carotene: Smokers’ Saving Grace?

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