« Back to articlePrint this article

Quit it! Smoking makes you less intelligent

Last updated on: November 18, 2015 13:26 IST

Smoking is not just bad for your heart, it's harmful for your brain too, a new survey has revealed.

You may want to quit smoking as a new study has suggested that smoking dumbs down the brain and kicking the habit will make you smarter.

The University of Edinburgh research revealed that smoking accelerates normal brain ageing in ways that can impair thinking skills such as planning, decision-making and problem-solving, the Daily Express reported.

The findings showed that smoking appeared to increase the rate at which the outer layer of the brain, or cerebral cortex, thins with age.

This is the part of the brain linked to many higher functions, and plays a key role in memory, attention, language and awareness.

Lead scientist Ian Deary said that the study shows that the rate of smoking-related thinning to the brain is approximately twice the rate observed in previous, smaller studies.

The study also suggests that stopping smoking might allow the brain's cortex to recover some of its thickness.

Study participants who had given up smoking some time ago seemed to have a thicker cerebral cortex than more recent quitters, suggesting that they had experienced some degree of recovery.

The research is published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Image used for representational purposes only. Image: Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters