Even Part-Time Smoking Blunts Your Memory

By Valerie Tejeda 03/07/12

"Social" smokers experience the same memory loss as heavy smokers, researchers reveal.

Restricting smoking to weekends doesn't
do much good.
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Weekend cigarette-smokers are messing with their memories just as much as those who smoke every day, a new study shows. Researchers tested 28 social smokers who smoke around 20 cigarettes once or twice a week (mostly on the weekends), comparing them with 28 people who smoke 10-15 cigarettes daily, and 28 non-smokers. The participants in the Northumbria University study, published in the Open Addiction journal, were each given a video-based prospective memory test, asking them to recall a series of fixed actions. Results showed that both groups of smokers performed equally badly compared with the non-smokers. “Smoking-related memory decline in general has been linked with increases in accelerated cerebral degeneration such as brain shrinkage,” says Dr. Tom Heffernan, who helped conduct the study. “This new research suggests that restricting smoking to weekends makes no difference—smoking damages your memory.” Period.

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix, Salon.com, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.