Tyne & Wear

Northumbria University study links smoking and memory

Dr Tom Heffernan with Dr Terence O'Neill
Image caption Dr Tom Heffernan (left) and Dr Terence O'Neill examined smoking and cognition

People who smoke lose some of their everyday memory, a study by researchers at Northumbria University has suggested.

However, it was also found that kicking the habit can restore the ability to recollect information restored to almost the same level as non-smokers.

Academics asked people to remember a series of pre-determined tasks.

Smokers correctly identified 59%, compared to the 81% recollected by those who had never smoked.

Those who had given up smoking remembered 74%.

The study, by academics from the University's Collaboration for Drug and Alcohol Research Group tested almost 100 people, split between the three groups.

Dr Tom Heffernan, from the group, said: "Given that there are up to 10 million smokers in the UK and as many as 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.

"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 function too."

Dr Heffernan, together with Dr Terence O'Neill, will now research the impact of second-hand smoke on health and everyday memory.

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