We know that smoking contributes to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, emphysema, and lung cancer, among others. But now there is growing evidence that tobacco can also affect the brain.
A recent study shows that Smoking is associated with cognitive decline in middle-aged men, and that male smokers may be more vulnerable to these mental effects than women.
The results of a study, published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, show that compared to nonsmokers, middle-aged men who smoked experienced a faster cognitive decline in global cognition and executive function.
In the case of former smokers, who had given up the habit at least 10 years earlier, no negative impact was found on cognitive decline.
To assess the relationship between smoking and cognitive function, a series of 5 tests were performed on a group of middle-aged men and women. After 10 years of follow-up, among men, regular smokers had significantly greater deficits in global cognition, memory, and executive function, compared to non-smokers.
No evidence found association between smoking and cognitive impairment among women.
Sabia S, Elbaz A, Dugravot A, Head J, Shipley M, Hagger-Johnson G, et al. Archives of General Psychiatry (2012). More information.