Smokers have one more reason to kick the habit: They will be able to remember everyday tasks better.
Researchers from Northumbria University in England compared the performance of smokers, nonsmokers and former smokers when they were given a series of real-world memory tasks. Although research in the past has shown smoking causes memory deficits, they wanted to find out if giving up smoking would lead to improvements.
The results: The former smokers performed almost as well as those who never smoked.
The researchers gave a memory test to 27 current smokers, 18 previous smokers and 24 who had never smoked. They were told to perform certain tasks at a variety of locations around campus. For example, they were supposed to see which band would be playing at the student union that week and, when they arrived at the library, they were supposed to check their cellphones for messages.
Smokers remembered only 59 percent of the tasks, compared with 74 percent for former-smokers and 81 percent for never-smokers, according to a post in US News.
Presumably, that means kicking the habit will help you remember where you put the car keys or to turn off the coffee pot when you leave home. And that’s a nice perk — on top of easier breathing and less risk for lung cancer and heart disease.
“Given that there are estimates of up to 10 million adults still smoking in the UK and as many as 45 million in the US, it is important to understand not just the health consequences of smoking, but what effects it might have upon your everyday cognitive function – of which prospective memory is an excellent example,” lead authors Dr Tom Heffernan and Dr Terence O’Neill said in a joint statement.
They also said they want to see how second-hand smoke affects memory.