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Smoking can make you lose 1/3 of everyday memory

22 Sept. 2011

London: A study has found that people who smoke are at an increased risk of losing around one third of their everyday memory, more so than non-smokers.

The Northumbria University study also found that those who kicked the habit saw their ability to recollect information restored to almost the same level as non-smokers.

The study involved more than seventy 18 to 25-year-olds and included a tour of the university’s campus.

Those who took part were asked to recall small details, such as music acts listed to play at the students’ union and tasks completed at various points – known as real world memory test.

Smokers performed badly, remembering just 59 percent of tasks, while those who had given up smoking remembered 74 percent and those who had never smoked recalled 81 percent of tasks.

Dr Tom Heffernan, who leads Northumbria University’s Collaboration for Drug and Alcohol Research Group, said the findings would be useful in anti-smoking campaigns.

“Given that there are up to 10million smokers in the UK and as many 45 million in the United States, it’s important to understand the effects smoking has on everyday cognitive function – of which prospective memory is an excellent example,” the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.

“We already know that giving up smoking has huge health benefits for the body, but this study also shows how stopping smoking can have knock-on benefits for cognitive functions too,” he stated.

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